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‘Here today together’ - Poland Class of 2019 honored during 85th annual commencement

July 3, 2019

Poland graduates standing at the beginning of graduation with Principal Greg Cuthbertson in middle

Poland Central School District Class of 2019 graduates stand at the beginning of the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28, as Principal Greg Cuthbertson (center, at podium) prepares to speak. View more photos from graduation at

POLAND – Poland Central School District Principal Greg Cuthbertson told Class of 2019 graduates that their legacy includes students who were academically competitive, others who didn’t think they would make it to graduation and those who overcame challenges and dealt with personal loss.

“And yet, you all persevered and found a way to be here today together,” he said.

The 85th annual Poland Central School District commencement took place on Friday, June 28, with 62 graduates in the Class of 2019. Students received their diplomas, and dozens of special awards, recognitions and scholarships were given out during the ceremony. The graduation also featured senior high chorus members performing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and speeches by Cuthbertson, Class of 2019 valedictorian Kyle Delano, salutatorian Chloe Lawson and commencement speaker Dr. Andrew Covey.

Poland Class of 2019 advisor Stacey Bennett, a Poland mathematics teacher, introduced Covey for his speech. Bennett and Covey were co-valedictorians when they graduated from Poland in 1993.

Bennett said that when Covey graduated 26 years ago, he was driven to become a doctor, and she hoped students would benefit from hearing his story of success.

“When you set a goal, anything is possible,” she said.

Covey, who is the medical director of the Brooks Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, spoke to students about his own college and career path and reflections about various aspects of life such as self-identity. One idea he focused on was the question of what you truly have control of in your life. He learned to accept that you can only control yourself and how you react to situations, he said.

“Congratulations, Class of 2019,” he said, in closing. “I truly wish you the best of everything that life has to offer.”

During Cuthbertson’s comments, he also gave students advice about their futures.

“It will not always be easy,” Cuthbertson said.

Life has peaks and valleys, but it’s during the valleys that you find your true character, he said.

Lawson’s salutatory speech included saying that her classmates inspire her.

“And thank you for the memories,” she said.

Lawson also encouraged her classmates to not let any labels they feel are placed on them to define them.

“Congratulations, Class of 2019,” she said. “You finally made it. Stay true, and good luck.”

Delano’s valedictory speech said he considers the Class of 2019 to be one of the most motivated classes from Poland, and he has seen the class shown genuine caring. The connections among students and long conversations they’ve had are what make graduation special, he said.

“Without each other … today wouldn’t mean anything,” he said.

Delano said the graduates will remain united by the bonds they created.

“I’m going to miss you all, but life keeps going, and so must we,” he said.

Poland Class of 2019

The following is a list of the Poland Central School District Class of 2019:

  • Sarah Ahles

  • Dominic Altamura Jr.

  • Heather Artz

  • Keara Blumenstock

  • Timothy Braunlich

  • Hunter Broadbent

  • Joshua Carter

  • Walker Cavoly

  • Gabriel de Castro

  • Tayler Clark

  • William Clark III

  • Amber Coe

  • Shauna Comstock

  • Kyle Delano

  • Sarah DeVuyst

  • Deven Draper

  • Rachael Gauthier

  • Taylor Goodney

  • Justin Greiner

  • Joseph Grimaldi Jr.

  • Brianna Haley

  • Madison Hampston

  • Dylan Hughes

  • Peyton Hulihan

  • Destiny Humiston

  • Nathan Jenkins

  • Garret Jones

  • Nathan Jones

  • Chloe Lawson

  • Brianna Loomis

  • Ashley Lynch

  • Cameron Maida

  • Zachary Maida

  • Mackensie McDonald

  • Dylan Miller

  • Madison Muller

  • Mason Muthig

  • Savannah Neal

  • Jenna Perusse

  • Dyllan Pritchard

  • Russell Rankins

  • Kaleb Renodin

  • Becca Root

  • James Ryan

  • Jennifer Sergott

  • Connor Shannon

  • Austin Sheehy

  • Barrett Sheppard

  • Kaitlin Sitterly-Bristow

  • Gabrielle Stemmer

  • Jacob Steves

  • Brooke Suhocki

  • Mickinzie Tabor

  • Tyler Tabor

  • Destiny Taylor

  • Alysa Trask

  • Kaylee Tyson

  • Wyatt Vail

  • Jamie Weakley

  • Christopher Whitaker

  • Nicole Zeidner

  • Samantha Zwierecki

Award winners

The following is a list of awards and scholarships that graduates were recognized for during the ceremony:

  • Association of Poland Teachers' Scholarships:
          *$1,250: Jamie Weakley

          *$1,000: Kyle Delano

          *$1,000: Ashley Lynch     

          *$750: Gabrielle Stemmer

          *$500: Keara Blumenstock

  • Linda Trzepacz Memorial Award: Mickinzie Tabor   
  • Todd Tatham Memorial Award: Heather Artz    
  • Ellen Griffin Memorial Award: Sarah Ahles    
  • Ellsworth G. Buck Memorial Award: Madison Muller       
  • APT/NYSUT Award: Allyson Watrous      

  • Tom Welch Teaching Award: Sarah Ahles

  • Janine M. Walker Scholarship Award: Mickinzie Tabor

  • David Sellars Memorial Award: Russell Rankins  

  • Marian Jones Award: Heather Artz                 
  • Mildred Dygert Memorial Award: Peyton Hulihan

  • Margaret Echtermann 9/11 Memorial Award: Gabrielle Stemmer

  • Russell Humiston Memorial Award: Destiny Humiston   

  • KVAC Dominick DeSiato II Memorial Award: Brooke Suhocki   
  • David A. Moran Citizenship Award: Destiny Humiston   

  • Educator Truman Award: Gabrielle Stemmer     

  • Lucy Weakley Memorial Award: Peyton Hulihan, Savannah Neal and Walker Cavoly

  • Poland Booster Club Awards and Scholarships: Jamie Weakley  

  • Newport Telephone Company Award: James Ryan

  • CALIS Conservancy Graduation Awards: Mickinzie Tabor and Deven Draper

  • Kuyahoora Valley Rotary Club Awards:  

          *Arthur Whaley Academic Achievement Award: Kyle Delano

          *Kenneth Young Effort Award: Keara Blumenstock     
          *Richard Rasch Service Award: Sarah DeVuyst     

  • Kuyahoora Valley Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award: Keara Blumenstock   
  • Adirondack Post 1118, Legion, Cold Brook: Dominic Altamura Jr. and Walker Cavoly   
  • Adirondack Post 1118, Auxiliary: Dominic Altamura Jr. and Brooke Suhocki      
  • Poland Auxiliary Fire Company Award: Jamie Weakley  
  • Herkimer County Conference of Mayors Awards: Barrett Sheppard and Garret Jones

  • David A. Tilly Medical Award: Taylor Goodney

  • M & T Bank Spirit Awards: Taylor Goodney and Dominic Altamura Jr.   
  • Poland Alumni Association Award: Jamie Weakley

  • Poland Alumni Association Vocational Award for the Class of 1957: Tyler Tabor

  • Moore Trust Fund Award: Dylan Miller  

  • William Welch Award: Chloe Lawson

  • James Hane Mathematics Award: Chloe Lawson     
  • Kristen Haver Memorial: Destiny Humiston

  • HCCC Hope Scholarship: Keara Blumenstock, Nathan Jenkins and Jenna Perusse

  • Kuyahoora Valley Foundation Scholarships: Jamie Weakley and Kyle Delano       

  • Gray Volunteer Fire Company Award: Samantha Zwierecki

  • Utica College: Heather Artz

  • The Poland High School Scholarship: Jamie Weakley       

  • NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association: Madison Hampston and Mickinzie Tabor

  • American Red Cross: Keara Blumenstock             

  • Town and Village Highway Superintendent of Herkimer County: Connor Shannon and Austin Sheehy

  • Utica Dollars for Scholars MELE Award: Deven Draper and Gabrielle Stemmer  
  • NYSED Scholarships for Academic Excellence: Kyle Delano, Dominic Altamura Jr. and Jamie Weakley

  • Niagara Mohawk Employee’s Memorial Scholarship: Jennifer Sergott    

  • Mildred Seavey Carney Music Award: Savannah Neal and Joe Grimaldi  

  • WE Autenrith 125th Year Award: Dylan Miller

  • Dominick DeSiato II Eagle Recognition: Russell Rankins  

  • Parker Huckabone Scholarship Soccer Award: Hunter Broadbent  
  • Parker Huckabone Scholarship Band Award: Gabrielle Stemmer   
  • Alex Batson Award: Dylan Hughes

  • Tom Flansburg Memorial Award: Destiny Humiston         

  • Adirondack Junior Bowlers Program: Sarah Ahles and Russell Rankins

  • HCCA School Counselor Scholarship: Madison Muller

  • Rome Teachers Federal Credit Union Scholarship: Jacob Steves

  • Civil Service Employee Association Local #431 Arthur Graham Memorial Scholarship: Sarah DeVuyst

  • Herkimer Region College & Career Scholarship Foundation: Mickinzie Tabor

  • Alexander Hose Company No. 1 Award: Kaitlyn Sitterly-Bristow

  • Gateway Senior Citizens Award for Trade School: Mason Muthig

Poland female graduates in white turning their tassels

Members of the Poland Central School District Class of 2019 turn their tassels during the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28. View more photos from graduation at

Poland male students in blue turning their tassels

Members of the Poland Central School District Class of 2019 turn their tassels during the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28. View more photos from graduation at

Kyle Delano speaking into the microphone for valedictory speech

Poland Central School District Class of 2019 valedictorian Kyle Delano gives a speech during the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28. View more photos from graduation at

Chloe Lawson speaking at mic for salutatory address at graduation

Poland Central School District Class of 2019 salutatorian Chloe Lawson gives a speech during the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28. View more photos from graduation at

Dr. Andrew Covey giving commencement address at Poland graduation

Poland Class of 1993 graduate Dr. Andrew Covey, the medical director of the Brooks Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, gives the commencement speech during the 85th annual commencement on Friday, June 28. View more photos from graduation at