CAMPBELL - Valedictorians and salutatorians from the 21 school districts in the Greater Southern Tier BOCES region were honored for their academic excellence during a ceremony held Tuesday at Campbell-Savona Junior/Senior High School.

“The focus of this program is to recognize and celebrate excellence. Obviously high academic achievement, but also perseverance and the ability to work through obstacles and be successful,” said Campbell-Savona Superintendent Kathy Hagenbuch. “It’s a way to showcase our students who rose to the top of their graduating class.”

For the honorees, the ceremony was part of the culmination of years of hard work that began much earlier in their educational pursuits. The celebrations will carry on throughout the next few weeks as the students receive their high school diplomas.

“It feels like a lot of hard work has paid off. A lot of late nights that have paid off,” said Emily Smith, Campbell-Savona's 2019 valedictorian.

This fall, Smith plans to attend SUNY Geneseo and participate in a three-year program with Upstate Medical University with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.

“It feels very rewarding,” said Natalia Alonza, Corning-Painted Post’s 2019 valedictorian, who plans to attend Boston University in the fall to study biomedical engineering. “This is what I was working up to so far. My hard work is paying off big time.”

The students were addressed by Houghton College President Dr. Shirley Mullen. Mullen talked about fate versus free will, ultimately driving home that it was the students’ personal choices that enabled them to reach the top of their graduating class.

“You cannot escape … the question of whether you’re free or determined,” said Mullen. “You are here tonight because your teachers believe that you have made choices. You could have been a D student, but you chose to be an A student. They are rewarding you for that choice.

“Tonight I want to encourage you to continue to think of yourself as a choosing being. Specifically, to think about yourself as someone who is making choices as you prepare for college.”

A total of 45 high-achieving students were recognized Tuesday. They include:

• ADDISON

David Baker, valedictorian

Brianna Knight, salutatorian

• ALFRED-ALMOND

Abby Kelly, co-valedictorian

Caroline Ding, co-valedictorian

Mikaela Wisniewski, co-salutatorian

Hanna Tormey, co-salutatorian 

• ARKPORT

Elizabeth Buisch, valedictorian

Allison Merry, salutatorian

• AVOCA

Hayden Barry, valedictorian

Julian Hopkins, salutatorian

• BATH

Bethany Smith, valedictorian

Calen Holmes, salutatorian

• BRADFORD

Micah Gallagher, valedictorian

Maria Antonio, salutatorian

• CAMPBELL-SAVONA

Emily Smith, valedictorian

Corinne Morris, salutatorian

• CANASERAGA

Haydn Straub, valedictorian

Marygrace Shay, salutatorian

• CANISTEO-GREENWOOD

Jaiden Weitzel, co-valedictorian

Sadie Peters, co-valedictorian

Austin Freberg, salutatorian

• CORNING-PAINTED POST

Natalia Alonzo, valedictorian

Noah Hursh, salutatorian

• ELMIRA

Kathy Nguyen, valedictorian

Emily Butler, salutatorian

• ELMIRA HEIGHTS

Jodie Burdick, valedictorian

Jadyn Baskoff, salutatorian

• HAMMONDSPORT

Matthew Cole, valedictorian

Travis Raab, salutatorian

• HORNELL

Chloe VanCaeseele, valedictorian

Cameron Sexsmith, salutatorian

• HORSEHEADS

Taylor Browning, valedictorian

Cole Pawlak, salutatorian

• JASPER-TROUPSBURG

Kathryn Groff, valedictorian

Kiersten Foster, salutatorian

• ODESSA-MONTOUR

Kennedey Heichel, valedictorian

Noah Brewster, salutatorian

• PRATTSBURGH

Joanna Glick, valedictorian

Grace DiRisio, salutatorian

• SPENCER-VAN ETTEN

Nathan Mack, valedictorian

Mackenzie Jones, salutatorian

• WATKINS GLEN

Joseph Chedzoy, valedictorian

Kathleen Clifford, salutatorian

• WAVERLY

Faith Svoboda, valedictorian

Stephanie Hyland, salutatorian