354 Graduate During Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony


354 Graduate During Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony

June 24, 2023

Warwick Valley High School graduated 354 students during the Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony, held this morning, Saturday, June 25, inside the gymnasium.

After a warm welcome to students, families and friends, and introducing the dais of administrators, teachers, and Board of Education and community members, WVHS Principal Marguerite Fusco spoke about the extraordinary circumstances this class has faced during its four years of high school, and the determination they’ve shown to accomplish so many incredible things. She listed a few notable instances from this year, including a student with a perfect AP exam score, nationally honored artists and musicians, state champions and repeat state champions in athletics, not to mention US Army All-Americans, ensembles performing at Radio City Music Hall, and many more examples. Ms. Fusco said she expects to hear about more great things from this class in the future.  

“We hope that you will use what you’ve learned here as you go on to what’s next,” said Ms. Fusco, and wished the seniors well.

Class of 2023 salutatorian Trevor Stevens gave the first student address of the morning. He shared a sense of nervousness to leave behind the high school life he and his peers have enjoyed so much, and said that while it may feel like everything they’ve known is escaping from them, it’s times like these that he keeps an old saying in mind: The butterflies in your stomach are flying in formation. The general sentiment of this statement, he pointed out, is that when you find yourself in times of uncertainty and anxiety, you’re often at your most prepared, and encouraged his peers to always go for it, regardless of reservations.

“We shouldn’t fear change; we should accept it. Change is fun. It’s new; it’s exciting,” Trevor said. “Life has so much to offer, and up until now we’ve only experienced an unbelievably small fraction of it. The world is ours and if we want to seize it we better believe that we’re capable of such!”

Board of Education President Keith Parsons shared the Board’s admiration, congratulations and commendations for the Class of 2023. He asked the students to reflect on the shared journey that brought them all to this moment together. Mr. Parsons addressed, as others did during the ceremony, the many unprecedented challenges this class has faced during their high school career, and lauded them for the resiliency and strength they exhibited along the way.  

“Look around and take all of this in,” Mr. Parsons said. “This is the result of 13 years of hard work. Make today indelible in your minds.”

Class of 2023 Valedictorian, Thomas Kanz, began his speech thanking the people who have been involved in the lives of the seniors and made their high school years such a success. He encouraged his classmates to build upon that success and always work towards things that are meaningful to them, and to be consistent in working toward achieving their dreams.

“Believe in your ability to overcome challenges. Learn from them, and excel,” said Thomas. “Persist, endure, and view these challenges as opportunities to grow and develop new skill sets. We, the class of 2023 of Warwick Valley High School have made it to this day. We, the class of 2023 will dare to excel.”

Thomas was followed by senior class speaker Johnny Lupkovich, who talked about growing up in a “truly special and amazing” place like the town of Warwick, and expressed his gratitude to the Middle School and High School faculties for teaching them life lessons they will never forget. Johnny mentioned his Class of 2023 peers’ stellar academic and athletic skills, and added that they are “talented in every single category you can think of.”

He wrapped up his speech saying that the group of close friends he has made at Warwick reminds him that, in life, it is always important to find your people.

“It’s just like the famous quote says, ‘Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend,’” he said. “[My friends] have become my family; they are both the devils and angels on my shoulders. They are the perfect examples of best friends for life, and friendship is a precious gift that we have been fortunate to experience during our academic journey.”

Rory O’Connor, Class of 2023 President, took his classmates on a nostalgic journey back to fourth grade, and recalled some of the careers his classmates were planning for “when they grew up.” Among them, many professional athletes and movie stars, a student who was simply going to be rich, one girl who hoped would be a Rockette and a lawyer as a side hustle, a professional treehouse designer, and even an ocean explorer.

“Last I checked, our quarterback wasn’t planning to major in lumberjack science,” he added. “But, thank you Warwick. You gave us the courage and imaginations to aspire to cut down trees while dancing with the Rockettes, moonlighting as an attorney and designing treehouses on the side. I think that is incredibly beautiful. You will all do incredible things, and I’ll be thankful to be able to say, ‘Hey, I went to high school with them!”

Before the Class of 2023 was officially presented and handed their diplomas, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Leach gave his parting message to the seniors.

“You have made an incredible impact on our school, leaving a lasting impression as one of the most accomplished groups to pass through our halls,” said Dr. Leach. “Looking ahead to the future, I am certain that each and every one of you will continue to achieve greatness beyond your time here at Warwick Valley High School.” He also shared some inspiration from a Warwick Valley High School graduate who chose to return – retiring Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton – and asked the students to “Be Like Mike.”

Finally, the Class of 2023 was officially presented by Colleen Amideau, Danielle DeStaso, Mary Fox, Julie Sekelsky, and Ruth Trovato, and received their diplomas from Dr. Leach and members of the Board of Education.

Click this link to watch the Class of `23 Commencement Ceremony in its entirety.

Click on this link to view and download high-resolution images from the Class of `23 Commencement Ceremony, including students receiving their diplomas, before, during and after photos.



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