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‘Continue to grow’: Poland celebrates Class of 2023 at commencement 




The Poland Central School District celebrated 43 graduates at the Class of 2023 commencement on June 23.


The potential weather forced the 89th commencement inside but spirits were not dampened as a crowd packed the gymnasium to celebrate the senior class.


Poland PreK-12 Principal Greg Cuthbertson welcomed the students and attendees and highlighted the accomplishments of the class.


His advice for the graduates included valuing relationships and time.


"Continue to grow and be the best version of yourself," said Cuthbertson.


Class of 2023 salutatorian Seth Walther said the Class was fortuitous to be together.


"We must take our good fortune as the Class of 2023 and do good in the world," Walther told his classmates.


Class of 2023 valedictorian Natalie Hobin said she is thankful for her time at PCS and trusts there are new memories ahead for all.


“I believe everyone in this class has the potential to create happy and successful futures for themselves," Hobin said in her address.


James Kattato ‘17, a sports anchor and reporter at WAVY in Virginia, gave the commencement address. He talked about taking advantage of any opportunity and to chase one’s dreams.


"Everyone has one thing they adore more than anything in the world," said Kattato.


"If you don't know yet, that's OK. Have fun!" Kattato advised.


Cuthbertson, along with class advisors Jan Kochan and Theresa Zuchowski, helped present dozens of scholarships.


The Class of 2023 officers announced the class gifts of a student section sign for the gymnasium and a new Tornado mascot costume.


Poland Superintendent Laura Dutton then presented the Class of 2023, students received their diplomas and a traditional turning of the tassels took place.


Students tossed their caps in the air to celebrate.


Additional content celebrating the Class of 2023 will be posted next week.


The stream of the commencement can be found below, along with photos and a full list of graduates.









Graduating Class of 2023


Jerry Tucker Almas ****


Logan Michael Walter Anna *


Kody Michael Aserian *


Catalina Raimalen Batista Lienqueo ***


Owen Lance Bennett *


Brandon Brandt


Hannah M Carnright *


Hunter Conklin *


Logan Isabella Cookinham *******


Brett James Dutcher, Jr. **


Stefania Marie Grimaldi *


Shelbi Rose Hagues *****


Natalie Renay Hobin *******


Austin Bentley Huckabone **


Mark Addison Hulbert **


Gavin James Krauciunas ****


Blake Dallas Leigh *


Lizbeth Luna ***


Jolene Lee Manipole **


Forest Mitchell Martin ***


Mason James Morganstern **


Dylan J. Oldfield **


Ella Esperanza Ortiz *


Angelea Jaelee Phillips ***


Aaron Michael Pope, Jr. **


Morgan Joan Potter ***


Jace Michael Reel **


Chloe Jae Roark ***


Nicholas Westeley Robinson *


Jake Stanley Shannon **


John Gage Smith **


Brandon Anthoney Sorce **


Sydney Darlene Stewart *


Sidney Kathryn Tabor *


Jackson Luke Vail **


Laila Mulvina Vauruk *******


Maya Rose Virgil *******


Seth Michael Walther *******


Neal James Waterman *


Morgan Hope Weigand *


Quintin Thomas Weigand *******


Karlee Marie Yost **


Sarah Mae Zuchowski ******


*       Regents Diploma

**     Regents Diploma with CTE

***    Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation

****  Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation Mastery in Science

***** Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Mastery in Math & Science

****** Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Honors with Mastery in Science

******* Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation with Honors with Mastery in Math & Science

Graduation award winners


Association of Poland Teachers' Scholarships

$1,500 - Natalie Hobin


$1,250 - Laila Varuk


$750 - Sarah Zuchowski


$500 Shelbi Hughes




Linda Trzepacz Memorial Award - Logan Cookinham


Todd Tatham Memorial Award - Stefania Grimaldi


Ellen Griffin Memorial Award - Aaron Pope, Jr.                                                     


Ellsworth G. Buck Memorial Award - Logan Cookinham                                                                           


APT/NYSUT Award - Sarah Zuchowski


Tom Welch Teaching Award - Catalina Batista Lienqueo


Janine M. Walker Scholarship Award - Natalie Hobin


David Sellars Memorial Award - Jolene Manipole & Jace Reel           


Marian Jones Award - Logan Cookinham                                                                           


Mildred Dygert Memorial Award - Morgan Weigand                                                   


Margaret Echtermann 9/11 Memorial Award - Shelbi Hagues


Russell Humiston Memorial Award - Morgan Potter   


KVAC Dominick DeSiato II Memorial Award - Ella Ortiz


HCCA School Counselor Scholarship - Maya Virgil                                                             


HCMEA Vocal Award - Hannah Carnright              


Coach Barry Shufelt Memorial Scholarship - Logan Cookinham & Shelbi Hagues


Connor’s Way Arthur Lynskey Memorial Athletic/Character Award - Logan Cookinham                                                              


Connor’s Way Arthur Lynskey Memorial Academic Award - Jerry Almas


Ronald Burlingame Memorial Scholarship - Seth Walther


David A. Moran Citizenship Award - Maya Virgil     


Lucy Weakley Memorial Award - Catalina Batista & Stefania Grimaldi


Poland Booster Club Awards & Scholarships - Natalie Hobin & Seth Walther                   


Athlete Award - Logan Cookinham                      


Newport Telephone Company Award - Nicholas Robinson


Kuyahoora Valley Rotary Club Awards Given by Michael Chauvin 


               Arthur Whaley Academic Achievement Award - Jerry Almas                                                            


               Kenneth Young Effort Award - Shelbi Hagues                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

               Richard Rasch Service Award - Sarah Zuchowski


Kuyahoora Valley Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award - Shelbi Hagues


Adirondack Post 1118, Legion, Cold Brook - Chloe Roark & Jerry Almas                                                                           


Adirondack Post 1118, Auxiliary - Chloe Roark & Jerry Almas      


Poland Fire Company Award - Gavin Krauciunas                                                                           


Herkimer County Conference of Mayors Awards - Jake Shannon & Laila Vauruk                                                                          


David A. Tilly Medical Award picked by Board Members - Jerry Almas                                                            


M & T Bank Spirit Awards - Forest Martin & Neal Waterman         


Poland Alumni Association Award - Jerry Almas                                                            


Poland Alumni Association Vocational Award for the Class of 1957 - Hannah Carnright


Moore Trust Fund Award - Jake Shannon                


William Welch Award - Seth Walther                                                          


James Hane Mathematics Award - Seth Walther      


Kristen Haver Memorial - Sarah Zuchowski                                                                             


Michele Theresa Kraeger Award - Ella Ortiz


Kuyahoora Valley Foundation Scholarships - Sarah Zuchowski & Forest Martin        


The Poland High School Scholarship - Quintin Weigand                               


Utica Dollars for Scholars MELE Award - Natalie Hobin   


Utica University - Owen Bennett & Nicholas Robinson


Scholarship for Academic Excellence Award


            Natalie Hobin


            Seth Walther        


            Logan Cookinham                                                                           


Mildred Seavey Carney Music Award - Hannah Carnright & Kody Aserian


Truman Excellence in Education Scholarship - Logan Cookinham


Parker Huckabone Scholarship Soccer Award - Owen Bennett                                                                                                   


Parker Huckabone Scholarship Band Award - Sydney Stewart         


Alex Batson Award - John Gage Smith                   


Tom Flansburg Memorial Award - Sarah Zuchowski      


Thomas A. Sullivan Memorial Scholarship - Morgan Weigand                                                  


Mohawk Valley IEEE Section STROM - Natalie Hobin & Seth Walther             


First Responders Scholarship - Chloe Roark


HCC Hope Scholarship - Hannah Carnright                   


Regional Program for Excellence Participants                  


Jerry Almas – Upstate Family Health Care


Catalina Batista Lienqueo – Utica University


Shelbi Hagues – Dodge/Jeep/Ram Dealership, Indium & St. E’s


Natalie Hobin – Natural Resources Conservation Services & NUAIR


Gavin Krauciunas – Oneida County Assistant DA


Lizbeth Luna – Slocum Dickson


Morgan Potter – Rome Police Department


Laila Vauruk – VanMeter & VanMeter, LLC


Maya Virgil – j. liam & ADHD Autism


Seth Walther – AFRL


Quintin Weigand – AFRL


Sarah Zuchowski – Bassett Healthcare


NYS Career & Technical Endorsement

Brett Dutcher                                                Austin Huckabone                Jackson Vail

Dylan Oldfield                                               Mark Hulbert

Jake Shannon                                               Brandon Sorce

Aaron Pope, Jr.                                            Jolene Manipole

Jace Reel                                                      John Gage Smith