Green Mountain graduates 50 in a return to normal commencement

Interim Principal Mike Ripley welcomes the graduates, parents and friends to the commencement. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

By Shawn Cunningham
2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Green Mountain High’s commencement exercises on Friday were a welcomed return to normal compared to last year’s drive-thru graduation. Hundreds of parents and friends watched as 50 members of the class of 2021 received awards and diplomas. (A gallery of graduates is at the end of this story.)

The evening marked the end of Michael Ripley’s tenure as interim principal. Having seen the 7-12th grade school through the pandemic year, he presided over the festivities thanking the graduates for bringing “fulfillment to our hopes for them.” Ripley also recognized the graduates who came from Black River High School, which closed after last year’s graduation.

“They are graduating from Green Mountain,” said Ripley, “but are and always will be Presidents.”

Graduates with Outstanding Academic Achievement (from left) Olivia Wright, Alexandra Hutchins and Erik Heitsmith

English Language Arts teacher Jason Rickles was the commencement speaker and three seniors – Erik Heitsmith, Alexandra Hutchins and Olivia Wright – were chosen to speak on the basis of their “outstanding academic achievement.” They delivered talks on topics ranging from understanding and caring for one’s self to a call to action to stem climate change.

Before the presentation of diplomas, which marks the end of the evening, came the announcement of awards and a few coveted scholarships.

Incoming principal Keith Hill’s last commencement processional as a faculty member

The John Butler Scholarships were awarded to Alexandra Hutchins, Erik Heitsmith and Kyleigh Moses with a special award going to Sadie Kobak. Chester Academy President Keith Hill, the incoming principal, explained that Butler was a lover of animals and in his will, he directed the Academy to give such an award to any graduate planning to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. The Butler Scholarship for $1,000 is renewable for four years.

The Chester Academy also awarded its medal and the Helen Parks Scholarship to Hutchins and Willem Bargfrede.

The Green Mountain Class of 2021

The Josh Cole Scholarship has been given by Black River High School in memory of Cole who was a member of the class of 1996. It goes to “the boy or girl  who best exemplifies Josh’s qualities and abilities: sportsmanship, honesty, hustle and a love of the game.” The scholarship will be continuing at Green Mountain and was awarded to Jack Boyle.

The Faculty Recognition Award went to Barton Burns, Richard Temple and Chestina Terry. Austin Powers received the Alumni Award and the Babe Ruth Medals were given to Hutchins and Boyle.

Mortarboards take to the air.

The Chester Academy gives out gold and silver pins for participation in extracurricular activities, sports and student government as well as academic performance. Heitsmith, Hutchins and Moses received Chester Academy Gold Pins in their junior years and on Friday night Anna Church, Sarah Devereux, Ty Merrill and Tierney O’Brien received their gold pins.

Silver pins were received by Mary Cameron, Nicolas Houghton, Skyler Klezos, Sadie Kobak, Anika Reitmeyer-Lankone, Rosalee Saccardo, Chestina Terry and Olivia Wright.

Recognition given during Green Mountain’s annual awards night on Friday June 11 can be found here. Click any image below to launch the gallery.

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