Class of 2021 Honor Grads are ready for the world

Six teens standing side by side wearing face masks
The Class of 2021 Honor Grads.

More than 30 years ago, Goshen High School administrators began honoring the top six graduating seniors instead of the traditional top two. Recognizing that these high-achieving students’ GPAs were merely hundredths of a point apart, the district felt they all deserved to be honored for their accomplishments. And so began the Goshen top-six Honor Grads tradition which runs strong today, for good reason.

For the past four years, Honor Grads Holly Bachorik, Madilyn Bunzey, Tallon Clark, Jade Kimmel, Ryan Mistretta and Benjamin Pahucki immersed themselves in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and interscholastic athletics—all while dedicating themselves to achieving high academic standards.

It wasn’t easy, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, but it won’t be long before they head out into the world, taking with them their memories and lessons learned. Each of them will also recall how their school chose to celebrate their accomplishments together as the Class of 2021 Honor Grads.

Holly Bachorik

Smiling teen with long blonde hair
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Holly Bachorik.

Holly will attend the University of South Carolina where she plans to major in chemistry or accounting with the goal of becoming a forensic accountant. Holly hopes to play intramural or club soccer and lacrosse while pursuing her academics. She is the daughter of Kim and Steve Bachorik of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Varsity Lacrosse, Varsity Soccer- Captain, Leo Club, Interact Club, Class of 2021 Student Government – Class representative, Blood Drive, Violin.

Honors and awards: National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society, Sojourner Truth Award- English, Ultimate Gladiator Award- Varsity Lacrosse.

On being an Honor Grad: I feel very honored to receive this distinction and I couldn’t be more proud of the others who did as well. I’m very fortunate to have had such motivating people around me and I’m extremely thankful to those who helped me along the way.

On her greatest strength: It would probably be my perseverance. I’m not one to back down from a challenge and I don’t usually give up once I put my beliefs behind it.

On looking ahead: I’m looking forward to exploring more of the world. I’m excited to experience things for myself and to expand my independence.

Madilyn Bunzey

Smiling teen with long hair and black top.
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Madilyn Bunzey.

Madilyn will study musical theatre and double major in psychology at the University of SUNY Fredonia. She is the daughter of Craig and Amy Bunzey of Campbell Hall.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Varsity Choir – Secretary, Jazz Choir, Women’s Choir, Concert Choir, Dance – Company Member Competitive Dance, Student Government- Vice President & Secretary, Student Senate Representative, National Honor Society, Drama Club – Treasurer, GHS Theatre Department, Odyssey of The Mind – World Champions, PB&J Club

Honors and awards: Humanities Award (2021), Sojourner Truth Award (2017), Goshen Greats Award: ​Character Award for Physical Education and French (2017, 2018), Excellence Award in Chemistry and French (2019), Music NYSSMA Festival: Score of 99, NYSSMA Area All-State (2018, 2019), Junior High All-County (2018), High School All-County (2020), Jazz All-County (2019)

On being an Honor Grad: I was surprised, but very happy! I’m so honored to be named, and would like to thank everyone who believed in me and supported me all throughout my high school career.

On the future: I’m looking forward to redefining myself, and finding my true meaning in the world. Also, summer.

On her greatest strength: I believe my greatest strength is my resilience.

On the change she’d like to see in the world: I would love to create a world that is more loving, and more accepting of everyone and all circumstances. The world is so full of hate, and it shouldn’t be that way.

Tallon Clark

Smiling teen with suit and tie.
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Tallon Clark.

Tallon will attend the United States Military Academy where he will likely major in engineering. He is the son of Regina and George Clark of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Cross country (Captain), Ski Team (Captain), Indoor & Outdoor (Captain), Boy Scouts (Former Senior Patrol Leader), National Honor Society (President), World Language Honor Society.

Honors and awards: Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award, Eagle Scout, OCIAA Male Scholar Athlete of the Year (Goshen), RIT Innovation & Creativity Award, RPI Medalist

On being an Honor Grad: It feels cool.

On the future: I am definitely looking forward to the many opportunities and experiences I’ll soon face at the academy and over summer training. However, I’m also looking forward to simply spending time with my friends and family before leaving.

On his greatest strength: Stubbornness, determination, or mindset. Whatever you would like to call it, I believe my mental state has been one of my greatest strengths. It has helped me to focus on and prioritize the things that I have found important over the years.

On the change he’d like to see in the world: I’d like to see people not be afraid of being bold. Whether it be a single decision or an entire lifetime, we have all fallen through to conformity at some point. In my personal experiences, I’ve learned that it always pays off to push that slight bit further. I wish we can all do better in making that push – especially if it’s the path unknown.

Jade Kimmel

Smiling teen with long dark hair and gold necklace.
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Jade Kimmel.

Jade will attend Rochester Institute of Technology where she plans to major in Engineering. She will also run cross country and track. Jade is the daughter of Bruce and Elaine Kimmel of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Class of 2021 Student Government Treasurer, National Honor Society, Student Senate, World Language Honor Society Treasurer, Varsity Cross Country Captain, Varsity Indoor Track and Field, Varsity Outdoor Track and Field.

Honors and awards: Certificate of Achievement: Global 9, Certificate of Achievement: Algebra 2 Honors, OCIAA Scholar Athlete Award, RIT Computing Medal and Scholarship, RIT Presidential Scholarship, 2019 Section IX Cross Country Champions.

On being an Honor Grad: I am proud to be included in this group of accomplished students. It teaches me that hard work and perseverance can pay off.

On the future: After graduation, I look forward to spending time with my family and friends before heading off to college.

On her greatest strength: My greatest strength is my loyalty towards my friends and family.

On the change she would like to see in the world: I would love to see everyone treated with respect. People shouldn’t fear for their lives when they leave their house because they look or act different. We are all human, therefore; we all have feelings, and no one should make others feel worthless.

Ryan Mistretta

Smiling teen with short red hair.
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Ryan Mistretta.

Ryan will attend Cornell University as a biological sciences major with a concentration in microbiology in the fall. He plans to attend medical school and hopes to become an Infectious Disease Specialist. Ryan is the son of David and Devra Mistretta of Goshen.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Varsity Ski Team (Co-Captain), Varsity Tennis (Captain), Varsity Cross Country, Science Olympiad (Co-Captain), Math Team, National Honor Society (Vice President), World Language Honor Society.

Honors and awards: Volunteer of the Year Award (You Are Beautiful People, Inc.), AP Scholars Award, World History Achievement Award, Health Achievement Award, Science Olympiad Medals (Protein Modeling 1st place, Experimental Design 1st place, Microbe Mission 1st place)

On being an Honor Grad: It is an incredible honor! I have worked so hard throughout my years in high school and it is an amazing feeling to receive this recognition. I am grateful to all of the extraordinary teachers that have helped me get to this point, to Coach Gilbert for showing me that if you wipe out, you shake it off, focus again, and make sure you have fun, and to my family and friends for encouraging me along the way.

On the future: I look forward to spending the summer with my friends and continuing my education in college. I am excited to meet new people, join new clubs, and take challenging classes in subjects that I know very little about. I also look forward to being more independent.

On his greatest strength: I believe my greatest strength is my determination. I always try my best and love to face a new challenge.

On the change he’d like to see in the world: I would like to see a world in which people were celebrated more for the way they treat others. Looking up to people in our society that constantly exhibit selfless behavior would have a large impact on the actions of others. I believe compassion and a need to help people are instincts that we are born with, but if we equate those attributes to success it will encourage individuals to develop those characteristics. One small change can make our world much better.

Benjamin Pahucki

Smiling teen with short hear wearing a necktie.
Class of 2021 Honor Grad Benjamin Pahucki.

Benjamin will attend Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art, and Planning, majoring in architecture. He would love to someday establish his own environmental architecture firm or to work for NASA designing permanent humanitarian shelters on the Moon and/or on Mars. Benjamin is the son of Christina and Brian Pahucki of New Hampton.

Extra-curricular activities and athletics: Science Olympiad – captain, World Language Honor Society – secretary, Olympics of the Visual Arts – president, Academic Team, National Honor Society, The Art Effect’s Senior Project, First Chair French Horn/Substitute Trumpet, GHS Symphonic Band, GHS Concert Band, Stage Band, All-County Band, Percussion Ensemble, Brass Quintet, Piano, LGBTQ+ Club , Part-Time Employee at The Castle Fun Center.

Honors and awards: Scholastic Art & Writing: 1 national gold key, 13 regional gold keys, 4 regional silver keys, 25 Science Olympiad Medals throughout high school: competed in geology, mechanical engineering, acoustics, oceanography, and astronomy events, First Place Plein Air Easton QuickDraw Teen Division, Admitted 4 artworks into “Teen Visions” juried showcase, First discovery of a juvenile specimen of ancient lizard species Saniwa ensidens, Recipient of Architecture Leadership Scholarship from Syracuse University

On being an Honor Grad: Being an honor grad is such a gratifying culmination of both my own hard work throughout the past 12 years and the immense support I have received from my community, family, and friends. It truly does take a village, and I am so honored that the countless hours of work I have dedicated toward my academic career are recognized and celebrated by the very community that has made such an achievement possible in the first place.

On the future: I am most looking forward to being thrown into brand new, uncomfortable situations where I can meet new people and learn from the world beyond Goshen. I also am very much looking forward to not having to share a bathroom with my sister once I leave for college.

On his greatest strength: My greatest strength by far is my versatility. My passions for science, art, music, history, and community service all intertwine, helping me view the world through various lenses. Having a wide variety of interests means that I can always find something to pique my interest to learn more about, that I am never bored, and that I can always bring a unique perspective to all of my endeavors.

On the change he would like to see in the world: I would like to see education reformed. I believe education is the single most useful resource that we have to invest in our futures, yet for so long public education has followed such an industrial, formulaic approach to teaching our youth. I think a more modern, individualized approach that is devoted to the discovery of one’s interest will better help future leaders and revolutionaries emerge in their respective passions.