Photo Gallery: Green Mountain graduates 54 in class of 2017

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

On a warm, humid night with thunderstorms predicted, Green Mountain Union High School seniors, their families and friends gathered in the  school’s gymnasium. “It’s hot,” said Principal Tom Ferenc,“but there’s a really good vibe here though.”

Salutatorian Mackenzie Walton got a big laugh saying that he used to think that “either you’re first or you’re nothing.”  Walton urged his classmates to take chances and embrace failure.

Riley Karl gives her valedictory. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

Recognizing every graduate’s unique talents and abilities Valedictorian Riley Karl relayed the famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Guest speaker and class of 2017 advisor Emily Lehet told the graduates that things won’t always go according to their plans but what’s important is how they handle them. Quoting noted academic and philosopher Albus Dumbledore, Lehet told the class “It’s not our abilities that show who we are, but our choices.”

Chester Academy President Tom Charlton not only handed out the Academy Medals and Gold Pins and the John Butler Scholarships but also announced that after a couple of decades working with that organization he would be stepping away and that Ron Theissen would be joining the board. Charlton also said that GM faculty member Keith Hill would be the new president of the Chester Academy, which has given away “just shy” of $890,000 in scholarships.

While 54 were slated to walk during the commencement exercises on Friday, June 23, seven students were absent, including two exchange students who had already left for home. Those graduates not attending were Schuyler Gould, Edon Selimi, Artem Shevtsov, Ryan Stocker, Michelle Turk, Connor Verespy and Jackson Wright.

Also Friday night, several awards that are not part of Senior Awards Night were also given out. To read the awards from Senior Awards Night, click here.


William Hudson receives the Alumni Award from GM’s Pam O’Neil

American Legion Post 67 Scholarship

  • Riley Karl
  • Mackenzie Walton

Faculty Recognition Award

  • Kristopher Haselton
  • Callum McGrath
  • Michael Randzio

Alumni Award

  • William Hudson

Tom Charlton presents a John Butler scholarship to Tuckerman Wunderle

Babe Ruth Award

  • Kassidy Cummings
  • Mackenzie Walton

Chester Academy Gold Pin

  • Mikayla Call
  • Julia Howard
  • Kimball Schultz
  • Hanna Veysey
  • Skylar White
  • Tuckerman Wunderle

Mortarboards airborne as students become graduates.

John Butler Scholarship – Four years

  • Mackenzie Walton
  • Skylar White
  • Tuckerman Wunderle

Chester Academy Medal

  • Mackenzie Walton
  • Kassidy Cummings




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  1. Kathleen says:

    It was not really announced anywhere Cynthia. I’m not sure why but it was definitely not an oversight on your end. Thanks!

  2. Cynthia Prairie says:

    Our apology for the oversight. And congratulations to Riley Karl. We just went through the Senior Awards Night list given to us by the school, and that award was not listed.

  3. Judy says:

    Notably missing from both Senior Awards Night and Graduation Night was the announcement that Valedictorian Riley Karl won the coveted “Green and Gold” Four Year Scholarship from UVM. Congratulations Riley ~ a well deserved honor for all your hard work!