The Genesee County Sheriff's Office Teen Academy Class of 2022 graduated 14 members on Friday afternoon at the Conable Technology Building at Genesee Community College in Batavia.
Filling in for Sheriff William Sheron who is under the weather, Chief Deputy Brian Frieday started the ceremony with a moment of silence for a 29-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, who was ambushed by gunfire overnight in the City of Rochester and lost his life in the line of duty.
"This serves as a reminder that, unfortunately, there is danger in police work; not trying to push you away, that is the reality of the job," Frieday told the graduates.
After a pause in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the Teen Academy was moved to GCC and is now being run by Academy Director Deputy Richard Schildwaster. Deputy Matthew Butler started the program as the School Resource Officer at Byron-Bergen High School in 2018, and in 2019 Butler retired.
"Many people and organizations make this work, it's not put together in a week or even a month, this has been worked on for several months," Schildwaster said.
Frieday thanked GCC Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Karen Wicka for helping coordinate and provide the facilities, along with Genesee County Stop DWI for the funding and the county Legislature for supporting the Academy.
Frieday told students he was very thankful they chose to get involved in the criminal justice system.
"Without you guys we wouldn't have this program. You volunteer your time, take time out of your summer. It's nice and sunny out there, who wants to be running in 90-degree heat," he said. "You put forth the time and hard work and you came together as a team. Thank you for participating, it's what makes this a sucess."
Top photo: Celebrating their status as Teen Academy graduates are, from left to right front row: Quinn Woeller, Wendy Lagunas Perez, Kaylee Tundo, Mary Engelhardt, Lea Donofrio, Michael Ehrmentraut, Hannah Spencer and Grace Slocum, and left to right back row: Lukas Volkmar, Christopher Zastrocky, Ian Kepple, Halie Deville, Joey Schnitzer and Michael Covert. Genesee County Legislators Rochelle Stein and Gary Maha, also former county Sheriff, in the front row during a portion of the Teen Academy Friday, and a group of students listen during a related class at GCC. Photos by Alecia Kaus.