C-R graduation

Cole Baldwin (left) hugs his mother Rachel Baldwin following Cuba-Rushford Central School’s graduation ceremony Saturday at the school.

CUBA — Often moments arise or comments are spoken during a graduation ceremony that evoke thoughts of the future. 

What will happen to my friends and I once we’re high school graduates? What paths will each of us choose and who will we become? Will each of us be successful? 

But, before Cuba-Rushford Central School’s Class of 2015 got whisked away in contemplation about the years ahead, they received several reminders of what they are leaving behind and what not to take for granted.

Their Senior Chorus & Pop Group’s performance of “100 Years” by Five for Fighting focuses on living in the moment because life from 15 to 100 years old will pass by in the blink of an eye. 

Then, Salutatorian Rachel Webb asked her fellow classmates to pause and reflect on past events that led them to commencement day. 

“Today, we take our first steps into adulthood and start pursuing our future dreams. While our futures are bright, we must not forget about the past that has made us who we are, and the legacy we leave behind at this school,” she said. “Whatever we decided, we all had some sort of impact on this school. This impact is expressed through the close relationships we’ve forged with our classmates and favorite teachers.”

Webb spoke of how the past 12 years have allowed each student to mold their own identities, discover their own passions and lead them on different journeys. She told of how some of her classmates became musicians while others turned to athletes and some developed artistic skills while others explored passions outside of school. 

“All of our past decisions have made us the people we are today,” Webb said. “We can use our past to answer the question posed by my favorite fictional character, Iroh, from ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender.’ He asked, ‘It’s time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself: who are you and what do you want?’ With the knowledge of the past, we can decide our futures. We don’t have to let the past define our futures, but we can use it as a guideline to how we want to shape our lives.”

VALEDICTORIAN JAMES WARD, during his often humorous monologue, touched upon moments from years’ past, but also advised his classmates to live for the present and think about the future while seated for this monumental occasion.

“The past four years, we have become confident in what each day will hold. We learned the rules, spoken and unspoken, of high school. We learned … with hard work comes better opportunities, teachers can be so much more than robots that oversee the classroom, friends actually can ease the pain that aches deep inside, and that Twitter is not blocked on the school iPads,” he reminded his classmates. “But my job today is not to look back to the past. It is to look at right now, what we feel, how we got here, and especially where we’re going.”

He said the future is a mystery, and each person will produce a different destiny. The destiny for some will be like high school, carrying all the drama most want to escape; for others it will be a long and challenging adventure.

“The road to success will definitely not be easy, and there is no guarantee that we will succeed in meeting our own standards of success. Along the way, we will inevitably face failure. At some point we will all be kicked down to the point that we no longer want to go on,” Ward said. “All the years of our lives have prepared us for it, though. By applying what we have learned, we stand on a great foundation for what our lives ahead possess. If we have made it this far, we can surely go even further. From the walk in the park that was elementary school to the everyday challenge that was high school, we have shown that we have what it takes.” 

Ward also reminded his classmates that surrounding themselves with a strong support system will boost their odds of leading a long, healthy and fun life.

“If I could encourage everyone here today to take one thing I have learned in my life and apply it to their futures, it is that the ones you love and the connections you make with the people in your life mean far more than any awards, accomplishments, recognitions, or possessions ever could,” Ward said. “People touch our lives in ways that we could never imagine or recover from. Embrace the people in your life who you will never be the same after meeting. Embrace the family that has supported you every step of your journey. Embrace the friends who you can call up crying your eyes out and know that they will listen. Embrace every person who has gotten you to where you are today. Never forget the friends who you can confide a part of yourself in that you are too afraid to show to the rest of the world. We need to remember that the road ahead is long, but we are not walking it alone. And, with that I say congratulations Class of 2015. I wish you all a long and happy life.”

Graduates include:

Timothy Asquith, Shanae Baker Cole Baldwin, Amber Bliss, Kaleb Botens, Cameron Brickey, Elizabeth Burrows, Cheyenne Campbell, Dakota Campbell, Sarah Carey, Jordan Carney, Abigail Clark, Samuel Clark, Tyler Cline, Madison Crandall, Nicholas Deck, Juliet Eke, Molly Emerson Brittany Fair, Emilie Fina, Emma Flower, Hayley Fry, Morgan Gadd, Emma Gaeta, Neil Goldsmith, Katelyn Grimaldi, Noah Haefner, Jacob Ingalls, Toni Ireland, Trisha Johnson, Xavia Johnson, Joshua Jones, Brook Kelley, Randy Kenyon, Justen Laird, Ashley Law, Kayla Learn, Caleb Lewis, Robert Litchner II, Damian Little, Monroe Morris, Mikayla Moshier, Kayla Noll, Dillon Ostrum, Janey Raimondi, Michael Rice, Kaleb Riley, Allan Roat, Willard Simons, Dalton Taylor, Logan Tyler, Dylan Wallace, Haley Walt, James Ward, Aaron Weatherly, Rachel Webb, Gabriella White Kaylea Willard, Nathan Williams, Andrew Witt, Colton Worthington and Philip Young.

Awards included:

Timothy Asquith: Allegany County Pamona Grange 45 Perseverance Award; Shanae Baker: Cuba Lions Club Technical/Vocational Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Cole Baldwin: Sid Bump Industrial Arts Award; Amber Bliss: Dale Lewis Memorial Good Samaritan Award; Elizabeth Burrows: Allegany County Area Foundation Joseph & Inez Hupp Scholarship, Cheyenne Elizabeth Wolfer Memorial Scholarship, Community Bank Business Award, Cuba Chamber of Commerce Student of the Year Award, Cuba Grange 799 First Place Agriculture Award, Diane Winchell Borden Memorial Award, Empire Cheese Award, FFA Milk Vending Machine Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, and the Steven Holmes & Jeanette Holmes Redeye Memorial Ag Award; Cheyenne Campbell: Allegany County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association Scholarship, Wayne Krieger Memorial Scholarship; Sarah Carey: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Cuba-Friendship Masonic Lodge #306 Third Place Math 12 Award, Cutco Corporation Employees’ Sons and Daughters Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Patriot Newspaper English 12 Composition Award; Samuel Clark: Dale McGinnis Scholarship; Tyler Cline: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Andrew Beck Memorial Scholarship, Cheyenne Elizabeth Wolfer Memorial Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Lakewood Veterinary Service Scholarship, Western and Central New York Safari Club Scholarship; Juliet Eke: Allegany County Area Foundation Joseph & Inez Hupp Scholarship, Linnae M. Granger-Nicholas Memorial Award; Molly Emerson: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Cheyenne Elizabeth Wolfer Memorial Scholarship, CRCS Alumni Association Scholarship, Dresser-Rand Employee Benefit Fund Award, Dresser-Rand NMA Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Brittany Fair: Allegany County Area Foundation Joseph & Inez Hupp Scholarship, Allegany County National Honor Society Scholarship, Brandon K. “Twice” Elliott Memorial Award, Ideal CRCS Student Award, Karl and Lois Fahrner Award; Emilie Fina: Jessica Karst-Cauley Memorial Award; Emma Flower: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Hayley Fry: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, CRCS Student Council Leadership Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, The Lawrence Dye & The Marshall Insurance Group Scholarship, NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence; Neil Goldsmith: French Club Service Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Rushford Alumni Association Bill & Ruth Albro Memorial Scholarship, Rushford Scholarship Fund Association Scholarship; Katelyn Grimaldi: Allegany County Area Foundation Joseph & Inez Hupp Scholarship, Cuba Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Noah Haefner: Sons of the AMVETS Award; Jacob Ingalls: American Legion Citizenship Honorable Mention Award, Cuba Grange #799 Third Place Agriculture Award, Kolby Geffers Memorial Scholarship; Toni Ireland: Dale Comstock Memorial Citizenship Award; Trisha Johnson: Allegany County Pamona Grange 45 Inspiration Award; Xavia Johnson: Devere Sweet Memorial Award, Five Star Bank Award; Ashley Law: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, CRCS Alumni Association Scholarship, CRCS Student Council Leadership Award, Cuba VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary First Place History 12 Award, Edwin Moses Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Linnae M. Granger-Nicholas Memorial Award, Patriot Newspaper Journalism Award; Kayla Learn: Cuba Lions Club Nursing Award, Rushford Scholarship Fund Order of the Eastern Star Scholarship; Caleb Lewis: Cuba Rod and Gun Club Trap Team Scholarship, Empire Cheese Award, Henriette vanZwanenberg Scholarship; Robert Litchner: Sons of the AMVETS Award; Monroe Morris : Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibely Scholarship, Allegany County National Honor Society Scholarship, Alexander K. Radloff Memorial Scholarship, American Legion Citizenship Award, Cuba-Friendship Masonic Lodge #306 First Place Math 12 Award, Ideal CRCS Student Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Western and Central New York Safari Club Scholarship; Mikayla Moshier: Charles & Cecil Arzberger Memorial Award, Dale McGinnis Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Kayla Noll: Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Brenda Veley Memorial Scholarship, CRTA Education Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Olean Teachers’ and Postal Federal Credit Union Patricia Olivett Education Scholarship, Patriot Newspaper English 12 Composition Award, PTO Scholarship; Dillon Ostrum : Cuba Grange #799 Second Place Agriculture Award; Janey Raimondi : Chet Swier Memorial Visual Arts Award, CRTA Education Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship; Dylan Wallace : Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, JP Morgan Chase Bank Award; Hayley Walt : Renee Wolbert Memorial Scholarship; James Ward : Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Allegany County National Honor Society Scholarship, Austin Snyder Scholarship, Cuba American Legion Auxiliary English 12 Award, Cuba VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary Second Place History 12 Award, Cuba-Friendship Masonic Lodge #306 Second Place Math 12 Award, Jack and June Gaeta Memorial Award, Karl and Lois Fahrner Award, NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence; Rachel Webb : Allegany Conty Area Foundation Belva A. Waite Scholarship, Cuba-Rushford PTO Madelene A. Brown Math Award, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Robert Hull Memorial Music Award; Kaylea Willard : L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, The Lawrence Dye and The Marshall Insurance Group Scholarship, Rushford Scholarship Fund Association Scholarship; Nathan Williams : Allegany County Area Foundation Walter F. & Louisa A. Sibley Scholarship, Cuba Chamber of Commerce Student of the Year Award, IAABO Board 50 Scholarship, Karl and Lois Fahrner Award, Sons of the American Legion Award; Colton Worthington : Allegany County Area Foundation Alfred Wood Scholarship, L. Ted Utter Family Scholarship, Rushford Scholarship Fund Jeff Gilbert Memorial Scholarship.

(Contact reporter Darlene M. Donohue at ddonohue@oleantimesherald.com. Follow her on Twitter, @DarleneMDono.)

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