Members of the Gilford High School Class of 2019 throw their caps at the end of graduation. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
June 20, 2019Finding life lessons in real experiences, learning from mistakes, and finding opportunities to grow were some of the lessons shared to Gilford High School's Class of 2019 at their graduation.
On Sunday morning members of the class gathered onstage at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in front of a big audience of family, friends, and supporters.
"You're here, you made it, and I couldn't be more proud to share this special day with all of you," said GHS Principal Anthony Sperazzo.
Sperazzo said while the students have the tools they need now to make it in the world, what they will really need is perseverance and grit or otherwise just give up.
"Knowing who you are, I know you're not going to give up," Sperazzo said.
Sperazzo asked the students to thank their parents and families for all they did for them. He said they can still call on their parents for advice and help.
Senior class president Maggie McNeil said one word that describes the class is "persistent" and members of the class show great persistence in every activity they're passionate about.
She said this class has never won Winter Carnival, though so many members of the class have put in hard work and effort to get as many points as possible. At the same time, they have had a lot of victories and members of the class were there to support each other.
"The journey to getting there is just as rewarding as the title of the champion," McNeil said.
She wished her classmates luck on their own journeys after high school.
Salutatorian Greg Madore talked about learning, in this case real life learning. He talked about the trip he took to France with other GHS students and said he had some amazing moments and "I grew as a person." He will study to be a math teacher, though said he has had difficulties talking with people.
"I was able to learn to be more outgoing and present," Madore said. "I'm hopeful that I'll have better communication skills approaching a career where I'll always need to be out there."
He said he also made a mistake while over there and said this taught him how to accept responsibility.
"It's not just about those mistakes, but how you learn and grow from them," Madore said.
He advised his classmates to try to make different opportunities a learning experience and learn from their mistakes.
Valedictorian Matthew McDonough said most of his focus throughout school was on keeping high grades and activities such as serving as a class officer and National Honor Society.
"Most of my peers came to think of me as a try-hard nerd," McDonough said. "I was scared to put myself out there."
He went on a trip to Costa Rica with the Spanish Club, which changed so much of his outlook.
"Over the course of those days new friendships were born and old friendships were renewed," McDonough said.
He said he learned to enjoy himself, and in the process gave himself permission to focus on other things besides just grades and studying.
He said so many people have preconceived notions about their peers based on certain stereotypes.
"Breaking these molds, it's not easy in fact it's terrifying," McDonough said. "Everyone who does is better off for it. We all have this fresh slate."
The keynote speaker was teacher Corey Nazer, who will be taking the position of Library Media Specialist soon.
"I know the secret to a happy, fulfilling, and actualized life," Nazer said, a secret he teased throughout is speech.
Nazer said every level of life is like clearing the level of a video game and at the end thinking, "Crushed it," only to face another, more challenging level. He said the students have cleared this level, but this is still called "commencement." At the same time so many sayings on life contradict each other such as "Better safe than sorry" and, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
He said every person is actually three people: their past self, their present self, and their future self. The secret to a fulfilling life is for all three of those to work in harmony, with "future you" setting a goal that "past you" and "present you" tries to meet.
Class treasurer Troy Gallagher announced the class gift will be an art case in memory of Ava Doris, a member of the Class of 2019 who died in a car accident in 2017.