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Joseph Caezza, son of George and Tracy Caezza of Binghamton, has achieved the academic honor of Valedictorian for Afton Central School’s Class of 2020. He has maintained a seven-semester grade point average of 102.53%.

As a member of YES! Leads and National Honor Society, Joseph has been a positive role model for his peers and has contributed to the school community through the service and leadership programs that these extracurricular activities offer. Through participation in band and jazz band, Joseph has competed in the NYSSMA Solo Festival and had the honor of being selected to perform for the All-County Band for three consecutive years. Joseph has most valued the opportunities to enhance his leadership skills, work with peers, and contribute to the community. In addition to these extracurricular activities, Joseph has served on Afton’s LINKS team for two years, which has required representation of the student body and input on plans to improve Afton Central School District.

Serving the community is something that Joseph finds important. He has served his school and community through working at American Red Cross blood drives, tutoring peers after school, assisting with elementary school family programs, and putting together Thanksgiving baskets for donation. Joseph believes that giving his time to help others makes his school and the community a better place, and he encourages others to find ways to give back to their community.

Academically, Joseph has sought out courses that challenged him and enriched his education. Despite graduating one year ahead of schedule and doubling up on course credits, Joseph still enrolled in several college level courses throughout his time at Afton. Joseph has most enjoyed the rigor of college level French, and through his independent study of a foreign language, he has learned that he can overcome obstacles and meet academic challenges.

After graduation, Joseph will continue his education next fall, majoring in computer engineering and working towards a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university. He would like to thank his family and friends for their support through the years.

Zachary Gardepe, son of Min Humphrey of Afton, is the Salutatorian for Afton Class of 2020 with a seven-semester grade point average of 98.61%.

There is not just one way to describe Zachary Gardepe. Zachary is humble, persistent, hardworking, motivated, caring, self-disciplined, a team player, has a never quit attitude, and is a role model for younger students and players.

Zachary has maintained High Honor Roll throughout high school, earned a place in the National Honor Society, and participated in YES! Leads. Along with many hours volunteering for the community, Zachary has continued to be a three-sport athlete all through high school. He has had an impact on not only the community through his volunteering, but also within the sports community. Zachary has always been a person that other people and teammates can look to. He has done all this while also taking college classes through Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Zachary would like to thank his loving mother for always supporting him and being there for him to lean on for support when he needs. He would also like to thank all the coaches he has had throughout his athletic career. Every coach has had a different impact on him, helped him grow and become the person he is. 

Upon graduating from high school, Zachary will be attending The University at Buffalo to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He plans to use this degree to pursue a career as an Orthopedic Technician. Zachary will then continue with his schooling to receive his master’s degree in Prosthetics to pursue a career in prosthetic rehabilitation. Throughout his career, Zachary will be able to use his kind, dedicated, self-disciplined personality to help those who need it most. 

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