Trio of Seniors Honored as Top Graduating Athletes at WHS Awards Event
WATERTOWN — Three Watertown High School seniors were honored Tuesday evening as the top graduating athletes and recipients of the William I. Graf Award. Kylie L. Cushman and Adelaide R. “Addie” Weir were selected as the women’s recipients, and Patrick Duah was named as the men’s honoree this year.
The William I. Graf Award was created in 1954 by the Italian American Civic Association to honor Mr. Graf’s leadership and civic engagement in the community. The Northern New York Community Foundation was selected to help continue the Graf family legacy by administering the fund in perpetuity and raising awareness of the award for students who strive to earn the prestigious honor.
Mr. Graf was a multi-sport coach and athletic director at Watertown High School. Graf Award honorees are expected to have participated in at least two or more varsity sports in their senior year and demonstrate exceptional character and sportsmanship, discipline, fair play, training, athletic ability, and academics.
The Graf Award was first presented to both a male and female athlete in 1977; from 1954 to 1976 the honor was only awarded to the top graduating male athlete. This year is the first time in 46 years that selection ended in a tie vote for the women’s athlete at Watertown High. Only two times, first in 1961 and again in 2015, did selection of the male athlete end in a tie vote. From 1954 to 1979, the Graf Award was also presented to the top graduating athletes at Immaculate Heart Academy/Immaculate Heart Central.
About the recipients
Kylie L. Cushman is an accomplished three-sport athlete, competing for five years in varsity hockey with Alexandria Central High School and for two years in varsity soccer and lacrosse at Watertown. She is a four-time New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Scholar Athlete.
As a varsity hockey player, Kylie was a five-year starter and a two-time NYSPHSAA Section X Second Team All-North selectee in her junior and senior years. She served as a team captain her senior year, is a Scholar Athlete and a two-time Frontier League All-Star and earned the End-of-Year Leadership Award. Kylie also played travel ice hockey for 10 years, competing with the Adirondack Hockey Club.
As a Cyclones varsity soccer athlete, Kylie was a two-year starter, a Frontier League All-Star Honorable Mention her senior year, and a Frontier League Champion. Kylie was also a two-year starter for the varsity lacrosse team.
Off the athletic field, Kylie is a top-ranked honor student and two-year National Honor Society member who participated in numerous extracurricular clubs and activities, including the Audio-Visual and International clubs. Kylie is also an active volunteer with her church, St. Andrew’s Parish, and has managed her own small business, “Kylie’s Tackle Shop,” making original fishing lures for the past seven years.
Kylie will graduate this month with a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation and Honors and Mastery in Math. She will attend Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pa., this fall where she plans to study sports medicine. She aspires to work as a physical therapist. Kylie is the daughter of Vanessa and David Cushman, Watertown.
Adelaide R. “Addie” Weir is an accomplished three-sport athlete, competing for four years at Watertown as a varsity swim and dive team member and three years as a varsity lacrosse player, and competing for three years as a downhill skier with Lowville Academy and Central School.
As a Cyclones varsity swimmer, she was a four-year undefeated Frontier League Champion, three-year Sectional Qualifier, a three-year Frontier League All-Star, and Scholar Athlete. She also served as a team captain. Addie earned numerous individual swimming accolades during her four years of competition.
As a varsity downhill skier, Addie competed on the Lowville ski team during her freshman, junior and senior years. She was twice named a Top 10 Skier, a three-time Sectional Qualifier, and is a Scholar Athlete. On the varsity lacrosse team, she was a three-year starter, a Sectional Qualifier, a Scholar Athlete and was named a Defender of the Week.
Off the athletic field, Addie is an honor student ranked in the top four percent of her class, a two-year National Honor Society member, and Class President and Student Council officer. She participated in numerous extracurricular clubs and activities, including the Trillium Fiddlers and Audio-Visual Club, and serving as secretary for the Northern New York Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Council. She is the current North Country Goes Green Irish Festival Miss Ireland title holder and, for the past three years, has worked as a ski instructor at Dry Hill Ski Center. Since 2021, she has served as a sailing instructor and lifeguard for the Crescent Yacht Club Junior Division. In 2022, she placed second in the Junior Olympics Sailing Festival. Addie is also involved in service work at St. Anthony’s Church.
Addie will graduate this month with a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation and Honors and Mastery in Math and Science. She also earned the Seal of Bi-Literacy in Spanish. She will attend Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., this fall where she plans to study biology and Spanish. She aspires to work as a medical professional in the pediatric field. Addie is the daughter of Sarah and Marshall Weir, Watertown.
Patrick Duah is a standout three-sport varsity athlete, competing for four years in soccer and basketball and three years in lacrosse.
On the soccer field, Patrick was a two-year Frontier League All-Star, named to the Second Team All-North, a three-time Frontier League Champion and team captain. On the basketball court, Patrick was a two-year Frontier League All-Star, earned Honorable Mention All-North, was a Frontier League and Playoff Champion, and also served as team captain.
As a Cyclone lacrosse player, he was a two-year Frontier League All-Star, First Team All-North, All-North MVP, a team captain, and an undefeated Frontier League Champion. He was recognized as a Scholar Athlete in soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
Off the athletic field, Patrick is an honor student ranked in the top 10 of his class, a two-year National Honor Society member, Class Vice President, past Class President, and Student Council member. He participated in numerous extracurricular clubs and activities, including the Audio-Visual and Booster clubs and Yearbook Committee. He also served as a Morning Announcement Anchor. Patrick is an active community volunteer with several local food pantries, Food for Families, the YMCA Shamrock Run, and Friends of Thompson Park. He has also served as a youth basketball coach and helped organize local blood drives. Patrick is the recipient of the University of Rochester Young Leaders Award.
Patrick will graduate this month with a New York State Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation and Honors. He will attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall where he plans to study business and finance. He aspires to work in finance as an investment banker. Patrick is the son of Drs. Marylene and Eric Duah, Watertown.
More than 100 graduating high school seniors have received the Graf Award. Click here to view an all-time list of William I. Graf Award recipients at Watertown High and IHA/IHC. Watertown High School’s athletics staff selects the recipients each year, and the Italian American Civic Association presents the award.
Following the death of Mr. Graf’s son, William A. Graf, in 2013, the family decided to honor him by funding a $1,000 financial award for recipients. William A. Graf, who also embodied the traits of the award, attended Watertown High School, and played several varsity sports coached by his father, William I.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.