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The Telegram
  • Ilion graduates its final class

  • Friday was a bittersweet day in the history of Ilion Junior-Senior High School.



    It was the final graduation ceremony for the school, which will merge with Mohawk’s Gregory B. Jarvis Junior-Senior High School to become Central Valley Academy in the fall.

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  • Friday was a bittersweet day in the history of Ilion Junior-Senior High School.
    It was the final graduation ceremony for the school, which will merge with Mohawk’s Gregory B. Jarvis Junior-Senior High School to become Central Valley Academy in the fall.
    The Ilion and Mohawk school districts will also merge to form the Central Valley Central School District. The new district will begin operations on July 1, with students in kindergarten through fourth grade split between Ilion’s Barringer Road and Mohawk’s Fisher elementary schools. Fifth through eighth grades will be combined to form Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School at the current Mohawk High School, while the current Ilion High School will be renamed Central Valley Academy and house the district’s ninth through twelfth grades.
    The merger was approved by Ilion and Mohawk voters in February after a three-district merger vote with Herkimer failed in October 2012 and a four-district merger that included Frankfort-Schuyler failed in January 2012.
    That the 101 members of the Class of 2013 were the last to graduate from Ilion Junior-Senior High School resonated throughout Friday night’s ceremony.
    “Change happens whether we like it our not,” said salutatorian Alexander Klosner. “Adapting to change is a part of life.”
    Klosner joked that he anticipates his Ilion Central School District diploma will one day become a collector’s item.
    “I’ll sell it on eBay to pay off my student loans,” he said with a laugh.
    Valedictorian Emily LaLonde recounted Ilion Junior-Senior High School’s history of change, which included construction projects in the 1920s and 1950s, as well as the construction project that resulted from the fire of 1963 that destroyed 25 classrooms and damaged the school’s auditorium, girls’ gymnasium, administrative offices, guidance office and language laboratory.
    The fire, which originated in an airshaft on the third floor and, fanned by brisk winds, spread to the roof and took the life of Ilion firefighter Burton Seymour.
    “We’re not the only graduating class to have to go to school in a construction zone,” joked LaLonde.
    Ilion Superintendent of Schools Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. summed up the district’s final school year in one word, “Intense.”
    He also said the year was a learning experience for everyone not only in Ilion, but in Mohawk as well.
    “Learning is a lifelong pursuit and I challenge everyone of you to continue that pursuit,” Tangorra, who has been appointed superintendent of the Central Valley Central School District, said to the graduating class.
    He said the members of the Class of 2013 will be responsible for not only changing the culture in the Mohawk Valley, but in all of New York state.
    “You can have a profound impact in the world,” said Tangorra.

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