All 90 members of WMRHS' Class of 2014 enjoyed the moment at noon on Saturday, June 14, holding tightly onto their just-received diplomas with some tossing their caps into air, before marching out of the gym and into their futures to the strains of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance." (See more graduation photos on pages A10-A11) Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
June 18, 2014WHITEFIELD — The WMRHS Class of 2014 — the 47th to graduate from the five-town regional high school — is a "fine representation of our school and community," principal Mike Berry said in his welcoming remarks on Saturday morning after 90 soon-to-be- graduates had marched into the standing-room-only gym.
Although overnight rains and a cold wind forced the two-hour-long ceremony into the gym, this indoor venue did not dampen the pride and enthusiasm of either the graduates or their families and friends.
Valedictorian Kaitlin Wood thanked "everyone who has helped make this day possible," including parents, teachers, and administrators who "have put in countless hours to make the end of the year special." She urged her classmates to follow Abraham Lincoln's advice: "Whatever you are, be a good one." Saying that she would give her future studies at Middlebury College her all, Wood said that she hoped that "each and every one of my classmates does the same. So, Class of 2014, find what you all want to be, and then be a good one."
Salutatorian Ethan Call, who is heading to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, pointed out that Massachusetts Bay Colony Gov. John Winthrop had in 1630 "told the first settlers of what would later become Boston that 'we shall be as a City upon a hill; the eyes of all people are upon us,' based on Matthew 5:14. … In a seemingly endless array of ways, the quotation fits this school and this graduating class," Call said. "In a phenomenon that is seemingly unique to Coös County and probably other parts of rural America, this high school seems to be the lifeblood of the five communities represented here today," said. Call thanked community members for "holding up this school," and concluded, "After four years of work, we can now take a step back and look at all our successes, placing our school upon its own unprecedented hill. We, and this school, will be forever changed, and nothing will ever be the same. Though change will come, two things are certain today: WMRHS stands on as tall a hill as it ever has today, and the Class of 2014 leaves today on top of the world."
Honors Speaker Nick Barker compared traversing the high school years to climbing a mountain from the trailhead where freshmen begin to the final days of the senior year, scrambling over the final boulders. Barker concluded by saying that he and his classmates had "all worked to find a suitable and attainable path. … As we enter our next stage in life, we will work to climb and conquer mountainous challenges…. We all have what it takes to set the pace of the climb and achieve the joy which awaits us at the peak."
Other seniors also spoke briefly: Class president Kayla Ann Bosse, who will attend Springfield College; class vice president Olivia Grace Conway, who will attend Salve Regina University; Ryan Todd Wilkinson, who is heading to UNH; and Spencer Thomas Beattie and Chelsea May Hancock, who will both attend WMCC in Berlin to study welding; Amrita Sood, who will attend Susquehanna University; and Adam Noyes, who is heading to Five Towns College.
Others receiving their diplomas included: Mary Courtney King, Emily Christine Cook, Kalie Justine Savage, Ashlee Marie Wetherbee, Madison Blanchette, Jamie Lynn Morris, Jennifer Burns, Mikela Blair Moss, Hannah Naomi Forcier, Amber Marie Bissonnette, Emma Ploss, Erika Lynn Millet, Samantha Jean Paquin, Ashely Gooden, Rebeka Kenison, Shaniah-Rae Clement, Mariah Alexandria Dexter, Aunnah Sheridan, Abigail Carol Towne, Keelin Gayle Lane, Joseph Williams, Charles Paul Clark, Brent Bilodeau, Quin Odell, Taylor Hussey, Sarah Elizabeth St. Martin, Madison Brigati, Jacinda Cinelli, Morgan Rae Clauss, Cherokee Raven Walsh, Saundra Sobliros, Emilee Angela Baker, Kayla Joelene Bacon, Shawna Potter, Kelsey Lisa Tuck, Gillian Patricia McCreedy, Alexander Husson, Trevor Wright, Kody Brett Carlson, John Ennis, Kurt Person Jr., Gregory Spreadbury, Benjamin Harrison LaFlam, Patrick Ryan Milligan, Nathan Patrick David Accardi, Christopher Andrew Jensen, Scott Huntington, Evan James Allard, Jacob Hampton, Colby Leonard Luc Couture, Benjamin Robert Gonyer, Eugene Harlan James Cordwell, Hunter Morse, Nicholas Brundle, Forrest McCabe, Charles Woodward IV, Camille Frenette, Ryan Marvin, Brody Robinson, James Alan Alexander, Cole Gregory Hatfield, Keeghan Corrigan, Anthony Joseph Valentino III, Matthew Huntington, Michael St. Pierre, Joseph Patneaude, Tristan Champagne, Shawn Austin Whiting, John Tanguay, Benjamin Higgins, Dakota Keith Lurvey, Hunter Mason Lamphere, Matthew Wetherbee, Matthew LaDuke, Andrew Richard Frece, Nathaniel Garret Giovanetti, Adam Noyes, Jason Currier, Brandon Birard, Jamie Alan Vetanze, and Timothy Wolfe.
District 1 Executive Councilor Joe Kenney addressed the seniors: "The world you are about to enter into is quite different than my from father's Great Depression generation but is in many ways alike. You have to do more with less; you will be challenged to solve the problems of the day; and you will need to work hard." Kenney urged them to take the North County's 'don't-give-up' spirit with them in their future, to continue their education, and to commit themselves to "giving back" through the high calling of public service.
Principal Mike Berry told the Class of 2014 that in today's world, "hard work is a requirement," and encouraged them — before saying "yes" — to carefully consider their choices.
SAU #36 Interim Superintendent Dr. Harry Fensom, who will complete his contract in June 2015, attributed the turn-around success that the District has experienced to a number of factors: the school board and the communities its members represent, the District Leadership Team, faculty and staff, and the student body. Fensom wished members of the Class of 2014 all success and happiness in their future lives.
The Spartan Battalion of the JROTC color guard presented the colors, everyone pledged Allegiance to the Flag led by Conway, and the WMRHS Chorus sang the National Anthem, accompanied by the WMRHS Band. The Chorus also sang "I'll Always Remember You." The Band played David Shaffer's "The Last Ride of the Pony Express," and Elgar's traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" as both a Processional and Recessional.
Class Marshals were juniors Rebecca Hicks and Spencer Nast.