By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY June 12, 2001 The Sullivan County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Class of 2001 were awarded their hard-earned high school diplomas during the 31st annual BOCES graduation ceremony at the Rubin Pollack Education Center in Liberty Friday.
This years theme, Key to the Future, was reflected throughout the event.
Prior to the class entrance into the auditorium to the strains of the traditional processional, the young men and women gathered in the cafeteria to help each other don their graduation gowns and discuss plans for the future.
Sixth-grader Erica Gabriel led the color guard up to the stage, prior to the assemblage reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Fredric Ramsey was the Class of 2001 speaker.
In her welcoming address, Karen OBrien, director of special education, said, Once again it is time to recognize our students who have earned the highest honor we can award. . . . They are a delightful group of young people.
For all students, getting to graduation is a minimum of twelve years of commitment, she added. I believe many of our graduates have to work harder and face more obstacles than others . . . and their effort has paid off.
This group of young people has found the Key to the Future.
Denise Sullivan has served as the transition teacher coordinator at the local BOCES since 1988. She connects students to the world after graduation: post-secondary education, employment and/or further training.
The thing that stands out for me about the group this year is that they made the most of their abilities, she said. They zeroed in on their abilities and worked with them.
Watching them fly and leave today is exciting and rewarding, added Sullivan.
The BOCES Class of 2001: Michael Beach (Tri-Valley), David Boyles (Liberty), Matthew Bult (Sullivan West), Erik Call (Sullivan West), Armando Carvajal (Liberty), Adam Cross (Liberty), Shellanda George (Monticello), William Gould (Sullivan West), Victor Irizarry (Monticello), William McArthur (Tri-Valley), Anthony Penwarden (Sullivan West), Fredric Ramsey (Monticello), Harry Shaffer (Liberty), Melissa Thomas (Fallsburg) and Timothy Touhey (Liberty).
Graduation award recipients: David Boyles (Gene Smith School to Work Award), William Gould (BOCES Board Award), Billy McArthur (Jess Abel Award), Erik Call (Peter Scursatone Memorial Award), Adam Cross (Presidents Academic Achievement Award) and Harry Shaffer (Sullivan Industries Award).
Following the presentation of the diplomas and special achievement awards, the audience saw an entertaining audiovisual presentation titled Slide Show Memories.
Afterwards, friends and family mingled with the newly minted graduates.
Adam Cross of Liberty High School received the Presidents Academic Achievement Award for outstanding academic performance, and he enjoyed the looks when he joked, Look at that, George signed it himself!
Eighteen-year-old Shellanda George came to Sullivan County BOCES from Monticello High School a couple of years ago. She hopes to land a job at the local hospital.
It was scary at first, but I learned a lot, said George of her BOCES experience.
Armando Carvajal, 18, is a relative newcomer to the BOCES scene, as he started taking classes there after transferring from Liberty High School last winter.
I was misbehaving at Liberty, because I was bored, he said. I couldnt concentrate because I finished my work before the other students.
His reaction to graduating?
I guess its kind of cool because I dont have to come to school anymore, said Carvajal. Graduation rules!