‘Always A Red Raider’

CHAUTAUQUA – Jamestown High School 2014 graduates walked across the Amphitheater stage to join the “legion” of JHS grads who have walked before them.

Ashley M. Marsh and Hayley M. Nieves introduced the guests for the night.

Tim O. Mains, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent, stepped up to the podium and expressed his appreciation of the graduates.

“This is one of life’s most important milestones,” Mains said. “This has been an amazing year, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know quite a few of you – I have been completely impressed.”

Mains said that he wants graduates to feel proud of what they have accomplished, but not so proud as to be conceited.

“Raider pride is justified, yet judicious,” he said. “Once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider.”

Olivia A. Valone, salutatorian, explained that she literally started out high school with a map, unsure of how to navigate the building.

“I’m leaving with an enriched mind to achieve and conquer the goals I have set for myself,” she said.

Carrie Hofert Ames, president of the 100 Member Club, presented $4,000 scholarships to Rishi K. Gupta and Kirstie L. Hanson.

Hanson spoke to recognize the parents of graduates.

Class co-presidents Gupta and Allan T. Smith spoke about their time at JHS – but not before tipping their hats to Ellen DeGeneres by taking a “selfie,” to the crowd’s amusement.

“Since being elected freshman year, our main goal was to unify the class through participation,” Smith said.

According to Gupta, the class of 2014 raised the second highest amount in JHS history during “Penny Wars.”

“Graduates, think about walking across this stage and the moments that led up until this point,” Gupta said.

Smith spoke to the importance of staying connected with friends despite moving in different directions after graduation.

“This city, this school and this class have shaped us into who we are today,” he said.

Ellie S. Blixt and Kellie J. Rodriguez, class co-vice presidents, recounted the highlights of their high school careers and welcomed Michael McElrath, JHS principal, to the podium.

“In order to get to this point, you’ve all had some success with academics,” McElrath said. “I’m equally proud of those who have been very successful and those who have gone through academic hardships.”

Jonathan M. Healy, valedictorian, honored a variety of teachers that helped him to reach his potential.

“Go out there and write your own history,” Healy said to the graduates.

Emily H. Kling introduced Dr. George Carlo, the commencement keynote speaker.

Carlo is a 1971 JHS graduate who is currently in his 10th year as a performance coach in the Detroit Tigers professional baseball organization, and presently the board chairman at Secrets of Champions Ltd.

In his extensive and varied career, Carlo has served as a performance and leadership consultant to field personnel in several U.S. government agencies including the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency, and written nearly 200 papers and four books in the health sciences field.

“Life is a team sport, my friends, and you have earned your place on a very special team – the team of Jamestown graduates,” Carlo said. “Winning in life is not a random event, it happens on purpose. People win because they’re champions first, and champions know secrets and they always have a competitive edge.”

Carlo reminded graduates that as they move forward, they have access to a “legion” of JHS graduates that have gone before them.

“As you succeed, so grows the legacy of Jamestown High School,” he said.

He went on to explain that the JHS graduates’ competitive edge is coming from the city of Jamestown – a place where respect and appreciation is part of the culture.

“Whatever path you choose, it will be honorable … because it will be yours, and that makes it good,” Carlo said. “Do (what you decide to do) well, full and with a smile.”

Julie Morano, class of 2014 advisor, provided a farewell to the graduates, expressing her gratitude for the class and reminiscing about her most memorable experiences.

Throughout the event, the Jamestown High School concert band and a capella choir performed various musical numbers, including “The Battle of the Hymn Republic,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

Organist Brian Bogey played “Largo,” by George Handel, as a prelude.