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BHS graduation

Board members to grads: Feed your passion, reach for the stars, enjoy life

By Joanne Beck
Senior Aidan A. Anderson turns his tassle right to left commencing him and the Class of 2023 officially graduated
Aidan A. Anderson celebrates graduation Friday by turning his tassel at Van Detta Stadium.
Photo by Steve Ognibene.

With a name like Aidan A. Anderson, there was little doubt that the Batavia High School senior would not be first up to receive his diploma during Friday evening’s commencement ceremony at Van Detta Stadium. 

And his mom, school board member Korinne Anderson was going to be right there ready and waiting, maybe with some tissues in hand, for the big moment.

"As I hand my son his diploma tonight,  I am sure I will shed some tears.  He leaves Sunday for West Point Military Academy and is quickly onto his next adventure,” his proud mom said earlier Friday. “I will most certainly give out hugs, as being a parent in the district and a board member offers me this unique glimpse into their education experience. And I am most excited to see what they will go and do in this world.”

Anderson is a 1995 graduate of Le Roy High School. She recalled her own experience and “being so excited for the next step,” she said, which was going to college.

“Le Roy was small, which I loved,  but was definitely ready for the next step,” she said. 

Fellow board member Alice Ann Benedict is a Blue Devil alum, BHS Class of 1972. Her walk down memory lane was at the former Mancuso Theater on Main Street in downtown Batavia.

“Our commencement speaker was William H. Updike, a freelance artist. I remember walking down the aisle to the stage to receive my diploma and celebrating with my friends in the audience,” she said. “Our class of ‘72 celebrated its 50th class graduation last summer. Loads of laughs and remembrances. Of course, graduating brings a big change in seniors' lives. Friends move on to new adventures, many going to college, some going into military service and many getting jobs. I remember being sad that I wouldn’t be seeing many of my classmates after our graduation ceremony.

“My advice to the Class of 2023 is to pursue your passions. If you choose a path that feeds that passion, then you’ll always look forward to each day,” Benedict said. “Remember to save for your future, travel as much as possible, and keep your good friends a part of your lives.”

School Board President John Marucci’s graduation ceremony — “way back in 1983 from Maple Grove Jr/Sr. High School in Bemus Point” — was quick and painless, he said, of just 90 kids. They had some “great after-grad activities as well,” he added.

He wanted to wish the Class of 2023 all the best in their future endeavors, whether they were headed to college, the military or jumping head first into the workforce.

“I know you will ALL be successful with whatever you decide to do,” he said. “So always keep reaching for the stars, and never look back because your very bright future is straight ahead. Congratulations and best wishes!”

For board member Barbara Bowman, these Class of 2023 members have already dealt with surprise obstacles with aplomb, which has fortified them for the future, she said.

“The class of 2023 has displayed amazing resiliency as they have coped with the unexpected challenges the pandemic presented.  I would encourage them to never lose sight of their ability to be resilient, to roll with life’s punches, to set goals that are meaningful to them and along the way, to just enjoy life,” Bowman said. “I am incredibly proud, both of the Batavia School District and of the Class of 2023!”

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