FULTON – Plaques, scholarships and congratulatory remarks were well received during the Fulton Athletic Booster Club’s annual senior athlete recognition banquet, but they weren’t all of what the Class of 2018 athletes had strived to earn.
Christopher Ells, Fulton City School District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, said more than 100 seniors from 25 teams played for the love of sports, friendship in teammates and always giving their all.
“The common bond will be a constant,” he said, as he wished the seniors well ahead of their June 23 graduation.
A crowd of people, including athletes, their families, coaches, FCSD administrators and special guests, enjoyed dinner together at The Oasis before guest speaker Seth DeLisle reflected on his athletic experiences at GRB.
The 2014 graduate alerted to the athletes that while their high school career is ending, these moments are just the beginning of an incredible journey.
DeLisle, who played lacrosse at Syracuse University and plans to finish his master’s degree in May, said the senior athletes should keep their hometown in mind as they move forward with their lives.
Reflective of the local area code 315, DeLisle said the athletes may take away the following: three things to make them a better person, one minute to breathe and relax and five goals to set for themselves.
“Remember where you came from and all of the people who helped you along the way,” he said.
Highlights of the night came when six Section III champions were introduced, an appreciation award was provided to Helen Speck, the Dale Tombs Baseball Award was given to Cole Cotton, the Barney Naioti Leadership Award was given to Anthony Salerno and McKenna Chesbro, and the Joe Castiglia Effort Award was given to Jonathan Parrish and Mallori Kitts.
Matthew Borrow and Lillian Bray proved to be the most improved athletes, an honor named after Gene Adams, while Jesse Smithers and Madison Lang received the Sox Stuber Sportsmanship Award because they always exhibited fair play.
Kayleigh Hotaling was the recipient of the Danielle Rae Kunzwiler Award, while Alex Stoutenger and Erin Nicholson received the Brian Dodge Scholarship. Robert Salerno, Hailey Carroll and Jordan Coulon all displayed the highest level of quality throughout all of their sports, which earned them the Dan McGinnis Senior Athlete Award.
Additional honors included: the Rick Luciano Football Award to Jonathan Parrish, Margaret Beckwith Scholarship to Erin Nicholson, Carl Barton Scholarship to Jacob Geitner and the Judy and Dave Trepasso Fan of the Year award to Alex Vescio.
One of the more touching moments of the night came when friends of former GRB athlete Dominic Sciacca proved that strength came in numbers as they unveiled the Dominic Sciacca Scholarship.
After he had moved out of the area, Sciacca remained in contact with friends, many of whom he played sports with at GRB, and formed lasting bonds even through his battle with cancer.
Sciacca died in 2017, but his friends made sure he would be remembered and the scholarship recipient would embody characteristics as Sciacca had.