PORTVILLE - Alan Elliott, president of the class of 2008 at Portville Central School, challenged fellow graduates during commencement Saturday to make the most of each day as they leave Portville Central and pursue their dreams.
"This morning as we share these last moments at Portville Central, I do have a challenge not only for my classmates but also for myself: To be honest with ourselves after we leave this building. We don't know what tomorrow is going to bring into our lives," he said.
Mr. Elliott urged his classmates to live today as if tomorrow may never come.
"Let the people around you know your purpose in life by living it today," he said. "Touch someone's life today in a way that will outlive all the tomorrows of this life. One day each of us will be accountable for what we've done in this life."
Katherine Mallery, first honor student, reflected on the powerful influence teachers, friends and family have had on her and her fellow graduates.
She said while many students may feel independent of their families, they need them now more than ever.
"A family has the power of unconditional love. Regardless of how many mistakes we make, a family will always support us," she said. "Now is the time in our lives when we need our family, especially our parents, to challenge us. They should compel us to be better than they are, make smarter choices and live fuller lives."
Ms. Mallery asked the graduates to pick influences that challenge them and to embrace life with a sense of adventure in their hearts.
"I urge you to accept new ideas and gain new influences, but never forget Portville, your family or your friends as you start your new journey," she said.
Dannielle Suain, second honor student, told her fellow graduates she came to realize that commencement is a beginning, not just an ending of her 13 years at Portville Central School.
She said the roots of friendship she and her classmates planted while at Portville Central sustained them through 13 years of trial and will remain a source of strength in the trials that lie ahead. Ms. Suain challenged her friends and classmates to strive through any adversity to achieve their goals.
"We all have something to strive for whether that is an Olympic gold medal or simply the sunlight of tomorrow," she said. "Every person, even after the attainment of that gold medal, can still strive for greatness. I am urging each of you, as well as myself, to never give in, to never feel that enough has been soaked out of life, that it is simply time to quit trying."
The class of 2008 presented High School Principal Kevin Curran with a bench to be placed outside the gymnasium.
Members of the Portville Central School Class of 2008 are:
Kyle Moran Alabaugh, Colby Austin, Samantha A. Baire, Desiree Sarah Bender, Jessica Jean Bergevin, Sydney Ann Blicharz, Christopher Lee Buchanan, Brooke Lynn Burrows, Danielle Rose Butterbaugh, Kaylyn Starr Button, Danielle Elise Campbell, Dustin Ray Card, Amber Lynne Cheladyn, Joseph Merle Chilcott, Garrett M. Childs, Joshua Jordan Deahn, Robert Joseph Deahn, Ashlie Elizabeth Dearmitt, Amanda Lynn Dewberry, Alan Marc Elliott, Richard Lee Farr, Kristina M. Fox, Paul Ryan Glover, Miranda Desiree Greene, Nickolas Allen Grisewood, Kaitlin M. Hill, Kristianne Lorie Holcomb, Patrick Holcomb, Bradley A. Hollamby, Corey Stan Judkins, Brianna Lynn Kent, Matthew Clayton Kronert, Joshua Paul Lampack, Courtney Lynn Langworthy, Kelly Ann Latten, Kara Jean Levia, Ashley M. Linn, Emily Sue Linn, Sandra Pauline Long, Kyle Robert Lowe, Lora Esther Lowe, Brent James Maedl, Katherine Anett Mallery, Dalton James Martello, Luke Wade Mayo, Shaunna Rae Milne, Michael Jay Mohr, Daniel Patrick Moran, Justin J. Morrow, Nicole Marie Neal, Phylicia Danielle Patterson, Thomas E. Ploetz, Erin R. Procter, Melissa Razey, Jeremy Reynolds, Dustin Edward Sisson, Brittany Rose Skiver, Rachel Y. Slawiak, Joshua Zane Smith, Corey Daniel Spencer, Kyle F. Sprague, Brett Thomas Stayer, Shayne Michael Stephens, Charles Allen Stover, Megan Ruth Stroud, Steven David Struchen, Alisha Ann Studley, Dannielle Marie Suain, Colin Edward Sullivan, Alysha Nicole Summers, Stephanie Sulyn Tierson, Aron J. Wardhaugh, Bryan Edward Weitzel, Joshua Willover, Elizabeth Mary Woodhead and Brandon Mark Yarnes.
Foreign exchange student Laura Rorres Salazar also received a diploma.
The following awards and scholarship were presented to members of the class of 2008.
Colby Austin - Alfred State Excellence in Education Award, USA Scholarship.
Desiree Bender - Dr. Burt Scholarship, Pell Grant, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Brooke Burrows - Student Council Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Danielle Butterbaugh - Dollars for Scholars Award, Eileen Hawks Memorial Scholarship.
Kaylyn Button - Dollars for Scholars Award, Academic Competiveness Grant, Pell Grant, Houghton College Grant, Timothy R Fuller Neighbor Scholarship, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Danielle Campbell - Dollars for Scholars Award, Western Michigan University Grant, Pell Grant, Laura Jopling Scholarship, Dawne Evans Joseph Memorial Scholarship, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Amber Cheladyn - Friars Scholarship, NHS Outstanding Member Scholarship, Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Presidential Award for Excellence, Achievement Award Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award, USA Scholarship.
Joseph Chilcott - P.A.T.H.S. Award, Laura Jopling Scholarship, Duquesne Scholarship, Exchange Club Youth of the Year Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Garrett Childs - David Mooney Memorial Scholarship.
Ashlie DeArmitt - Moulton Scholarship, James & Michael Robinson Memorial Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Amanda Dewberry - U.S. Army Signing bonus, U.S. Army early signing bonus, Brenda Frederick Memorial Award.
Alan Elliott - Dollars for Scholars Award.
Paul Glover - Lee Friar Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award, Portville Faculty Assn. Excellence in Education.
Miranda Greene - Lyman Baker Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Bradley Hollamby - Dollars for Scholars Award, Pell Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, Charles Bretzin Jr Memorial Scholarship.
Corey Judkins - Kettering Scholarship.
Brianna Kent - Enchanted Mountain Scholarship, Robert Quick Memorial Scholarship.
Kara Levia - Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Johnson & Wales Grant, Culinary Essentials Scholarship.
Ashley Linn - Jake Kush Memorial Scholarship.
Emily Linn - Dollars for Scholars Award, Kathy Ward Foundation Scholarship.
Kyle Lowe - Ronald Hawks Memorial Scholarship.
Lora Lowe - Medaille College Presidential Scholarship, Tara Todd Memorial Scholarship.
Katherine Mallery - St. John Fisher Presidents Scholarship, Past Presidents Parley Scholarship, Academic Excellence Scholarship, Academic Competitiveness Grant, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Laura Jopling Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award, PATHS Excellence in Math Award, Portville Faculty Association Excellence in Education.
Luke Mayo - Baptist Bible College Grant, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Justin Morrow - Laura Jopling Scholarship, McDonalds Scholarship, Alfred Alumni Scholarship, Student Council Scholarship, Weston's Mills Auxiliary Scholarship, Robert Geuder Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Phylicia Patterson - N.Y. Lottery Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award, Pell Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, Presidents Scholarship, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Portville Lions Club Scholarship, Mike McGreevy Memorial Scholarship.
Thomas Ploetz - Kettering Trustee Scholarship, Rensselear Medal Award, PATHS Excellence in Science Award, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Erin Procter - Enchanted Mountain Scholarship, Robert Geuder Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Jeremy Reynolds - Pell Grant.
Shayne Stephens - Pell Grant.
Charles Stover - Jonathan Teuscher Scholarship, Pell Grant, Winifred Putnam Memorial Scholarship, Kevin Shea Memorial Scholarship, Steven Struchen, Pell Grant.
Dannielle Suain - Fredonia Deans Award, Community All-Stars Award, Scholastic Achievement Award, Scholarship for Academic Excellence, Michelle Foss Bartholomew Good Person Award, Maxine Slocum Memorial Award, Excellence in English Award, Dollars for Scholars Award, Portville Lions Club Scholarship.
Colin Sullivan - Katherine Jackson Carnahan Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars.
Alysha Summers - Edgar Clark Memorial Scholarship.
Stephanie Tierson - Enchanted Mountain Scholarship, Penn State Academic Scholarship, Pacioll Business Scholarship, UB Academic Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Joshua Willover - Excellence in Vocational Studies Award.
Elizabeth Woodhead - Laura Jopling Scholarship, St. Lawrence University Scholarship, Eastern Michigan University Scholarship, SUNY Brockport Scholarship, Exchange Club Scholarship, Michele Foss Bartholomew Good Person Award, Dollars for Scholars Award.
Brandon Yarnes - Mercyhurst Presidential Scholarship, Dollars for Scholars Award, Wm. E. Wheeler Award.
The total amount of grants and scholarships awarded for the class of 2008 is ,1,154,161.