By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
GREENVILLE — The Class of 2022 saw 74 seniors take to the stage Friday evening to accept their diplomas during the 94th annual commencement at Greenville Central High School.
They filed into the auditorium to the traditional tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Senior John “Jack” Motta led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Principal Kristy Goergen delivered the welcome address.
She told the graduating class they experienced a great deal of change throughout their high school years, including living through a pandemic, and even a new high school principal. Goergen thanked the class for giving her a warm welcome when she took the school’s helm.
“Graduation is a time to reflect on your years in school. It’s a time to look back on your accomplishments, the challenges you overcame, the memories made and celebrate where you are now,” Goergen said.
Cheyenne Bogusz delivered the salutatorian address, expressing gratitude to those who helped her along the way and reflecting on the unique experience her class had living through the COVID-19 pandemic for much of their time in high school.
“While I am sure previous high school classes have said the same, high school really has been turbulent for the Class of 2022, but I don’t think any one of us would change that,” Bogusz said. “The COVID pandemic gave us the opportunity to grow, to develop independence and really challenge ourselves to step up.”
The majority of the class’s high school experience was impacted by the pandemic, she said.
“Ninth grade was normal. Then came 10th grade,” Bogusz said. “I don’t think any one of us could ever imagine that we would spend the last 15 weeks of our sophomore year logging onto Google Meets. Suddenly, the building and the faces that we were all so familiar with, felt like a distant memory.”
During their junior year, classes were hybrid, with students attending school a couple of days a week and logging into remote classes the rest of the week. Their senior year was more “normal,” but still saw many restrictions, quarantines and cancellations, she said.
Valedictorian Emma Haller also reflected on how the pandemic affected the Class of 2022.
“When we look back on our high school lives, we can see all we have managed to accomplish despite the very real hardships we have endured,” Haller said. “Our class is a part of the generation that was not able to experience high school in the way we should have. In fact, the last completely normal school year we had was freshman year in 2018. But although the last few years have not been easy on any of us, the perseverance and positivity of this class as well as the love and support from everyone here, has enabled us to reach this important moment in our lives.”
District Superintendent Michael Bennett was the final speaker and spoke of the many changes the Class of 2022 have had to contend with.
“You persevered through it all,” Bennett said. “I am a strong believer in silver linings, and when you are faced with challenges or setbacks, that is how you learn and grow. In life you will face many more obstacles and many more challenges. Learning from them is an important part of growth.”
The top 10 students in the Class of 2022 were valedictorian Emma Haller, salutatorian Cheyenne Bogusz, Sydney Ahrberg, Celina Miller, Madeleine Stewart, Taryn Silk, Patrick Close, Hanna Case, John “Jack” Motta and Aurora Gandolfo.
Check out more photos from Friday evening’s commencement: