By Megan Hartsell
On the evening of Friday, June 28, Ellicottville Central School hosted its 125th Commencement Ceremony for 38 students adorned in maroon and white.
This was the fourth graduation to transpire in the “Ward,” the school’s gymnasium honoring retired Superintendent Mark War.
As ECS seniors prepared to bid farewell to the comfort of high school, a bittersweet but welcome feeling, families and graduates shared a heartfelt tear or embrace.
The graduates processed eagerly to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” counting down the moments until they became alumni of their alma mater.
Salutatorian and Class President Meganne Chapman addressed her classmates by reminiscing past excitements, recounting field trips which unified the class, and lessons learned along the way.
“Mrs. Signore taught us to be respectful of others and their space,” she said. Mr. Hintz taught us not to be afraid of answering a question for fear of being wrong. Mr. Delity taught us that practice doesn’t make perfect, but permanent.”
Chapman concluded with quotes from Winnie the Pooh, “Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined.”
Valedictorian Louisa Benatovich noted that “The class behind me, is the reason we are all here today. And guess what, we’re terrified…and happy and exhausted and confused.”
Benatovich elaborated that these feelings were shared by not only the graduates but also by the entire audience. “We are all a part of this moment of miraculous change. Look around, it’s incredible.”
Benatovich addressed her class with the wise words of Beth Baldwin, ECS 1998 Valedictorian, “I hope that you choose the path in life that brings you the most happiness and success.” After 14 years of “falling,” Benatovich believes that, as a whole, the Class of 2019 has done everything right in preparing for the future.
With diplomas in hand, tassels at the left of their heads and wide open hearts full of dreams for the future, Ellicottville’s graduating class of 2019 exited, surrounded by a cacophony of applause, whistles, joyful cries and best wishes.
Evelyn Ballard, Louisa Benatovich, Hunter Bishop, Malorie Chamberlain, Meganne Chapman, Brenden Chudy, Elissa Cole, Kayleigh Coolidge, Hannah Delity, Paisly Farnum, Brennan Finn, Allyson Fisher, Robin Freaney, Jaclyn Freundschuh, Gavin Gebauer, Abby Grant, Griffin Haley, Ned Hartsell, Ginna Hensel, Christopher Ives, Jessica Jimerson, Linnea Jimerson, Logan Knab, Zackary Krotz, Sierra Maybee, Michael McGuire, Alexander Miller, Jason Oberer, Jacob Perkins, Kalib Pierce, Steven Rowland, Gabrielle Squires, Jacob Summers, Abigail Sundeen, Logan Tabak, Timothy Venturin, Sierra Wilber, Grace Young
SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS:
Evelyn Ballard—Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship
Louisa Benatovich—Board of Education Valedictorian Award for Academic Scholarship, Board of Education French Award, Board of Education Science Award, American Legion History Award, Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship, Harmon Scholarship, Holiday Valley Scholarship, Paul and Mary Janowicz Memorial Scholarship
Meganne Chapman—Board of Education Salutatorian Award for Academic Scholarship, Donald Chapman Memorial Award, Ellicottville Alumni Association Scholarship, Ellicottville Fire Department Award, Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship, Ellicottville Sports Boosters Award, Jean W. Fitzpatrick Memorial Award, Joseph F. Ward Memorial Scholarship, Kristen Hintz Memorial Award
Brenden Chudy—Michael Chapman Memorial Award
Kayleigh Coolidge—Board of Education Music Award, Ken Brown 700 Club Award
Hannah Delity— Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship, Ellicottville Teachers Association Award, Jodie Dawn Watkins Memorial Award, Mary Kay McCord Memorial Scholarship
Paisly Farnum—Elisa B. Hughey Scholarship for the Arts
Brennan Finn—Board of Education Spanish Award, American Legion Post 659 Memorial Award, Ed Szpaicher Memorial Award, Ellicottville Sports Boosters Award, Ellicottville Teachers Association Award, Holiday Valley Scholarship, Humphrey Fire Department Award,
Allyson Fisher—Ellicottville Teachers Association Award
Robin Freaney—Board of Education Art Award, Humphrey Fire Department Award
Jaclyn Freundschuh—Arion Award, Humphrey Fire Department Award, Salamanca Kiwanis Scholarship
Ned Hartsell—American Legion Post 659 Memorial Award
Ginna Hensel—Board of Education Award for Academic Excellence Ranked #4, Board of Education Social Studies Award, Cattaraugus County Bank Business Award, Daniel A. Sirianni Scholarship, Elisa B. Hughey Scholarship for the Arts, Ellicottville Alumni Association Scholarship, Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship, John Philip Sousa Award, School Administrators Association of Western New York Retiree Student Scholarship, Virginia Hughey Memorial Scholarship
Christopher Ives—Humphrey Fire Department Award
Jessica Jimerson—Board of Education Physical Education Award, North Park Innovations Future Administrative Team Scholarship
Linnea Jimerson—Ellicottville Central School Related Professional Association Award
Logan Knab—American Legion Gregg Smith Memorial Award
Zackary Krotz—American Legion Leslie I. Dunkleman Memorial Award, Dale E. Golley Memorial Award, Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship
Sierra Maybee—Board of Education Award for Academic Excellence Ranked #5, Bob & Barb McCord and Jack Karl Scholarship, Ed Szpaicher Memorial Award, United Church of Ellicottville Memorial Award
Michael McGuire—American Legion Post 659 Memorial Award
Steven Rowland—Ellicottville Rotary Club Foundation for Youth Scholarship, Humphrey Fire Department Award, Kirk Rowland “Cornfed” Memorial Scholarship
Gabrielle Squires—Board of Education Technology Award, North Park Innovations Future Manufacturing Team Scholarship
Abigail Sundeen—Board of Education Award for Academic Excellence Ranked #3, Board of Education English Award, Board of Education Mathematics Award, Holiday Valley Scholarship
Timothy Venturin—Ellicottville Sportsmen’s Club Award, Great Valley Volunteer Fire Company Award.