Mary West and Katelyn Caza, seniors at G. Ray Bodley High school, have earned this year’s title of valedictorian and salutatorian.
The students are good friends and have many things in common, including their hard work ethic and involvement in school and the community.
West’s final grade point average came to 103.092. She thought at the beginning of the school year that she was fourth in the class of 2013, but it wasn’t until she met with her guidance counselor that she found out that she was in fact number one.
West has almost always been an A student, but her over-100 average comes from her advanced placement classes, which are weighted.
Like valedictorians of past years, her favorite subjects are in math and the sciences.
“I like math because its definite and I’ve always been the best at it,” said West.
One of her favorite teachers is Mrs. Ryan, her AP Calculus teacher. “She’s always telling me how much she sees herself in me,” she said. “She has such big goals for all of us and she supports us no matter what.”
West also likes chemistry, so much so that she will be majoring in biochemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the fall.
Last year, she got the Rensselaer Medal from the institute, along with a laptop scholarship.
West was attracted to RPI’s accreditations in engineering and science. It is also located 10 minutes from the state capital, where there are a lot of opportunities in the medical field.
West is the only Class of 2013 senior attending RPI. A lot of her friends will be going to college in the Rochester area, except her longtime best friend, who will be going to The College of St. Rose, minutes from RPI.
Branching out in college is what West considers her biggest challenge ahead. She is used to being around the same group of students from her AP classes. She is thinking of joining an intermural sports team, like ultimate frisbee.
West has already met a girl from Binghamton who she met on Facebook and will be her roommate.
“I’ve never had to share a room before, except with our dog,” said West.
West will enter RPI already having college credits. This year, she is taking AP calculus, biology, and micro/macroeconomics. She hasn’t given much thought yet to her graduation speech, because she is “just trying to survive AP tests right now.”
Recently, West wrote an essay for the Fulton Teachers Association, where she had to describe a specific experience with a teacher. West chose to write about Ms. Child-Dauphin, her AP World History Teacher for two years.
“I think she single handily helped me adjust to high school,” said West.
In middle school, West didn’t have to try for good grades, but started getting bad test scores in ninth grade world history.
“It wasn’t her, she wasn’t failing us, she was giving us everything we needed to succeed, I just wasn’t taking advantage of it,” said West. “The experience taught me a lot in terms of maturity, and facing the rest of my high school career.”
West also has Mr. Morse to thank, who influenced her enough to continue on with the sciences in college.
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G. Ray Bodley High School students and staff have talent and they are not afraid to show it.
Nineteen acts took center stage in the school’s annual Bodley’s Got Talent show.
Similar to the hit television show, “America’s Got Talent,” GRB’s showcase featured a diverse blend of performances that included bands, solo musicians, dancers, martial artists, and more.
Teachers Beth Lazarek, Jennifer Reese, and Fred Kent served as judges for the showcase, presenting a first, second and third place award at the show’s conclusion.
Capturing the third place award was the Irish step dance duo of Angela Paul and Ashley Grey; honored with the second place award was guitar soloist Justin Purtell; and capturing first place was Julia Fisch who performed a graceful, athletic, and artistic dance for the audience.
In addition, the following special recognition awards were presented: Audience Favorite Award to Neal Burke for his rendition of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King;” Most Unique Act to Alex LaRock for her “Cup Song” performance; and a Gave It Their All Award to the duo of Shakeemah Hordge and Eric Perwitz for their performance of “Daddy’s Little Girl” by Frankie J.
The HOPE Club sponsored this year’s Bodley’s Got Talent, donating all proceeds from the event to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Hope for Ariang.
Audience members learned about these benefactors during the showcase’s intermission.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Fulton Board of Education, Jeffrey Charles was appointed as the secondary assistant principal at G. Ray Bodley High School.
The vacancy was left by Brian Buchanan, who accepted the position of principal in 2009, but took a leave of absence last school year and returned as the assistant principal. Buchanan has accepted a position as principal at another school district.
Charles holds degrees from the State University College at Cortland and the University of Houston. He holds a New York teaching certification in physical education and administrative certification as a school building leader.
Charles has eight years of experience as a physical education teacher at Christian Brothers Academy and has also served as a physical education teacher with the Fort Bend Independent School District in Houston, Texas.
He has also served as the athletics director with the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District and ninth grade principal in the Spring Branch Independent School District.
Charles returned to Central New York with his family in 2009. He will leave his job as a physical education teacher with the Phoenix Central School District to fill the $80,500 assistant principal position.
by Nicole Reitz
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Nathaniel Hawthorne and Rachel Gernsey have been named the Class of 2012’s valedictorian and salutatorian at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton.
Hawthorne is the son of Dennis and Lucy Hawthorne of Fulton. He will graduate in June with a grade point average of 102.9, having taken six advanced placement courses.
Hawthorne is president of National Honor Society and is a member of the Math Club, chorus, mock trial and Model UN.
He also plays tennis and is actively involved in Quirk’s Players. Hawthorne has been with the high school drama club since the eighth grade. Drama club is where Hawthorne’s fondest memories lie. He said he will always remember the weeks leading up to the school’s musical, the long five to six hour rehearsals, and friends who turned into a family.
“You get really close to people in that time frame because you’re pretty much living with them for a week and a half,” the valedictorian said.
Hawthorne has learned a lot about time management in his senior year since he also works at Struppler’s Shurfine Market for 20 hours a week. He believes that organizing the time that he has will be an important lesson to take with him to college.
Hawthorne will attend Union College in Schenectady and major in chemistry.
He applied to eight schools but chose Union because the students he met seemed to enjoy learning there.
An overnight orientation at Union sealed the deal. “Union is close enough to still get care packages and come home, but far enough that my parents can’t drop in for unexpected visits,” Hawthorne said.
Hawthorne is excited to meet new people and getting involved in some of the research projects available in the science department.
He plans to join the all-male a cappella group and hopes that the college offers a humans versus zombies team.
He looks forward to having more freedom when it comes to class selection and setting his own schedule. “I do look forward not having to wake up at 6:30 every morning for college. Eight a.m. sounds better,” quipped Hawthorne.
He credits his success in his high school career to his parents’ attitude towards learning and his favorite teachers: Susan Ryan, Robert Morse and Jon Fasulo.
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Members of Oswego County AmeriCorps will host a community restoration project at Fulton’s Recreation Park at 2:30 p.m. Arbor Day, Friday, April 27.
Several local businesses and volunteers have supported the project and the public is invited to join in the effort.
“This park is next to G. Ray Bodley High School and is the environment where thousands of kids, our next generation, pass each and every day,” said AmeriCorps member and project organizer Jessica Naioti. “We are asking for the community’s help in sprucing it up.”