October 22, 2021

Homer High School graduation

Socially distanced, still close

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Homer principal Douglas Vanetten leads students to Butts Field on Saturday during one of the high school’s graduation ceremonies.

Marlena Kruman figured she had nothing to lose Saturday when she admitted to cheating on a test in the third grade.

During that test, she got stuck on a math section where she had to draw a cylinder, but couldn’t remember what it looked like. One of her friends saw her confusion, took Kruman’s crayon-shaped eraser, covered the top and mouthed the word “cylinder.”

“The point is, we learned how to support others,” said Kruman, now the salutatorian for Homer Central High School’s class of 2020. “In my mind, the class of 2020 moved together and worked together.”

Around 90 of the high school’s 152 graduating students had their in-person graduations Saturday on Butts Field next to the high school.

Originally, five groups of 30 graduates each were to have their ceremonies throughout the day but rain Saturday morning required moving two groups to Sunday.

Despite some changes — including smaller groups spread out on the field and graduates and school staff wearing face masks — the ceremony resembled traditional ceremonies before the coronavirus pandemic.

This included speeches by class valedictorian Andrew Fagerheim, Kruman and guest speaker George Schneider, a high school math teacher.

“We have amazing graduates,” Principal Douglas VanEtten said after the 12:30 p.m. ceremony — the first ceremony of the day. “They are a remarkable group of young people. I can’t wait to see what is in the future for them.”

“I really appreciate that they put some effort into it and made it special for us,” said graduate Madelyn Kilmer, who plans to attend William Smith College in the fall. “Even though we can’t all be together, they at least did something to celebrate us.”

This included posting all of the graduates’ portraits on a fence outside the field.

Kilmer said she is attending William Smith College in the fall.

“I’m not too crazy about ceremonies but it’s a nice thing,” said graduate Ethan Kowalewski, who will attend Alfred State College to study construction management.

He said he liked how the ceremony was in-person and not virtual like other districts have had.

“This felt more like a ceremony, like it should be, so it was nice,” he said.

Kowalewski will attend Alfred State University to study construction management, a field which he wants to enter.

“I enjoyed high school,” said graduate Logan Luke, who plans to study history at SUNY Albany. “I think it was the funnest time of my life but I’m excited to start a new chapter.”

Luke plans on studying history at the University at Albany.

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Graduating senior jalyn King sports a message on her mortar board: ‘Can I nap now?’