Randolph Academy Celebrates Class of ’24 with Two Campus Ceremonies

Randolph Academy, a 200-student, New York State Special Act school district which supports, empowers and educates children with emotional and mental health disabilities, celebrated its graduating seniors this week with ceremonies at its Randolph and Hamburg campuses.

Dozens of family members, teachers, administrators, staff members, board members, classmates and friends applauded the 13 collective seniors – the majority of which earned New York State Regents diplomas.

“Today marks a celebration of perseverance, resilience, and achievement. Each graduate has overcome challenges and embraced opportunities to reach this important day,” said Dr. Danielle Cook, who is finishing her final year as district superintendent before beginning the same role within the Frewsburg Central School District.

“Your success is a testament to your determination and ability to thrive in the face of adversity. As you move forward from this moment, remember the lessons you’ve learned and the support you’ve received. Use these experiences as a foundation for future endeavors, knowing that you have what it takes to navigate life’s challenges and achieve your dreams.”

Randolph campus seniors (from left) Carrie Foshee, Bryanna Nazaire, Aaron Antill and Andy Hamilton show off their degrees after their ceremony.

Board of Education President Mary Myers also shared her congratulations with the graduates.

“Wherever the road leads, take with you all the good that you have gained here and be proud of what you have accomplished,” Myers advised. “Look for ways to share what you have learned with others as your journey in life continues.”

This year’s keynote speaker was former board president and longtime member Brad Sande, who shared his thoughts as he retires after nearly five decades of collective service to the district and its affiliate, New Directions Youth & Family Services.

“You’re here because you worked hard, and that hard work resulted in success,” said Sande. “You’ve overcome challenges that most students don’t have to face. You’ve mastered the concepts of Normative Culture and Restorative Practices and learned how to make choices that result in success.”

Keynote speaker and former board president Brad Sande, who is retiring after 47 of collective service to the district and New Directions, addresses the graduates.
English Teacher Danielle Lesika presents and award to senior Kai Mruk.

“At Randolph Academy, we don’t succeed unless you succeed,” added Sande, who spent his first 10 years with New Directions as a social caseworker before becoming its development director until his retirement in 2016. “Our product isn’t something that can be sold or purchased, and it’s the result of the dedication and hard work of everyone – most of all, yourselves. Our product is successful students. Thank you…for being part of Randolph Academy’s success story. Now it’s time to move forward, using the things you’ve learned to create more of your own successes.”

Remarks were also shared by class presidents My’Kell Young (Hamburg) and Aaron Antill (Randolph).

The district’s graduating seniors include:

Randolph Campus:

  • Aaron Antill, of Frewsburg CSD, who plans to earn a certification in carpentry.
  • Carrie Foshee, of Niagara Falls CSD, who plans to attend college.
  • Andy Hamilton, of New York City SD #31, who will pursue a career as a licensed cosmetologist.
  • Veronika Maltseva, of New York City SD #22, who plans to attend college, and
  • Bryanna Nazaire, of New York City SD #27, who will enter the workforce and attend college.
Senior Bryanna Nazaire gets a hug from a loved one after receiving her degree.

Hamburg Campus:

  • Nathan Bardotz, from the West Seneca Central School District, who plans on continuing his current role in the workforce.
  • M.J. Breeze, from the Ken-Ton City School District, who will attend SUNY Niagara and pursue a degree in Psychology.
  • Jayden Bushey, from Hamburg Central School District, who will attend SUNY Fredonia and pursue a degree in Computer Science.
  • Isabella Greenough, from the Niagara-Wheatfield School District, who will attend SUNY Niagara and pursue a Culinary Arts degree.
  • Kai Mruk, from the Grand Island School District, who will attend Buffalo State University and pursue a degree in Fashion Design.
  • Brian Paschall, from the Ken-Ton City School District, who will attend Genesee Community College.
  • Dylan Schlager, from the Newfane Central School District, who plans to enter the workforce; and
  • My’Kell Young, from the Ken-Ton City School District, who will attend SUNY Erie, pursue a Business degree, and play collegiate baseball.
Senior MJ Breeze lets out a cheer during the Hamburg ceremony’s recessional march.
Senior My’Kell Young addresses his classmates, teachers, staff and family at the Hamburg ceremony.