GOLD SCHOLARS Kelly Wood and Tuckerman Jones led the Kingswood Regional High School Class of 2013 onto Alumni Field last Saturday, June 15, as Class Marshals. The two highest-ranked students also addressed their classmates during the ceremonies. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
June 20, 2013WOLFEBORO — The sun came out just in time to shine down on the 164 graduates of the Kingwood Regional High School Class of 2013 during its commencement exercises held at Alumni Field on the Kingswood campus this past Saturday, June 15.
Though Mother Nature had pulled some strings, the classmates didn't need good weather to emanate their own rays of excitement, anticipation and joy. Their smiling faces met by the proud, wide grins of their family and friends there to cheer them on was enough to ward off any rain clouds and light up this special day.
As Class Marshals Tuckerman Jones and Kelly Wood led their classmates down the center aisle to what would be their final high school gathering they walked to the tune of the traditional Pomp and Circumstance played by Kingswood's symphonic band under the direction of Robert Burns.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance led by Hiral Patel, seniors Kimberly Adjutant and Nathan Wotton sang an inspiring a cappella rendition of the National Anthem, showcasing just one of the many talents embodied by the members of this graduating class.
As Class President Jessica Colpoys explained in her welcoming address, "this group of talented students brought Kingswood much success," in a wide array of areas ranging from victorious sports teams to thriving voc. ed. programs to achievements in after school clubs and organizations.
Colpoys pointed out that given these talents she and her fellow graduates make up the only class that have experienced the "old plastic palace in all its glory" as well as the new high school building post-construction.
Having lived through the school's transformation, they are now ready for their own and just like it had been "a long road getting here," the next chapter of their lives promise more long journeys and unexpected turns. Moving forward without the content help of their teachers and parents that they came to rely on Colpoys urged her classmates to take risks in their new lives and to get outside of their comfort zones.
"Every moment is an opportunity to open a door that appears to be sealed shut," she said.
Top two Gold Scholars Kelsey Fleet and Tuckerman Jones also addressed their classmates and encouraged them to be inspired by every day.
Kingwood Scholars earn their status by excelling academically, in extracurricular accomplishments, in leadership and by contributions to their communities and high school explained Governor Wentworth Regional School Board Chair Stacy Trites who proudly introduced the pair.
While the entire class has a staggering 3,462 hours of community service to its credit, she said, Fleet and Jones have put in 320 themselves. In addition these two together have taken a total of 17 advanced placement classes and exams and have participated in a total of 13 leadership activities.
"[They've] worked hard, demonstrated strong leadership and exemplary citizenship," said Trites.
Fleet, the second highest ranking scholar, shared her experiences traveling to Ghana, Africa, and how she learned from the people she met there that "a warm smile is the universal language for kindness" [William Arthur Ward].
"Despite all of our differences," she said, "We had one thing in common, a smile." She explained that though their lives were full of hardship the Ghanaians showed their visitors a warm welcome and friendly curiosity.
"They didn't know much English, yet they knew a smile was more than enough communication."
So she urged her friends to find their own "Ghana," as they journey to new places in the next year. A place that she said she hoped was full of "smiles, memories and friendship."
In his speech, highest-ranking Gold Scholar, Tuckerman Jones, advised his classmates to "follow the tick of [their] own watch."
"From now on we are on our own time," he said. "This precious time will yield for no one, it ticks the same for me as it does for you."
He considered that he and his friends would be responsible for their own decision making from here on out and that they should manage their own time to benefit their own individual styles and personalities.
"Leave here today and make the most of the time you are given, figure out what it is that makes you happy and establish what it is to spend your own time wisely."
After a lively performance of John Wasson's "Pop and Rock Legends: Chicago" by the symphonic band students, Kimberly Adjutant and Autumn Keyes presented the class gift to Kingswood High School Principal Guy Donnelly.
The Class of 2013 is giving the school new picnic tables to be placed outside of the library. The class hopes to establish this as an outside eating area where students can take their lunches.
Additionally the class is donating funds to three local food pantries.
A special presentation was given by Ian Lehner, who thanked retiring Superintendent Jack Robertson for his 21 years of service to the school district and credited him with the successful completion of "the most complicated building project ever done by a school district in the state of New Hampshire."
In appreciation for a "job done with integrity, care and excellence," Lehner announced, the school board had set up a scholarship in Robertson's name that will award a deserving student with a yearbook each year.
Haley Manson introduced commencement speaker Kirkland "Rusty" Ross, who is retiring from his position as Kingswood Regional Middle School Principal after 17 years working in the district and 40-plus years in education.
"Mr. Ross has been a positive role model and an advocate for students," she said, "and the Class of 2013 is honored to have him as our speaker."
In his speech Ross joked of the changes in technology over the years since his youth by comparing today's Smartphone to the cumbersome, bulky technologies of the past. For example he recalled the old-fashioned wall phones that required cranking and a live operator and typewriters that necessitated precision and patience. He reminded the audience of record players that played only a few songs, which he said was pretty "archaic" compared to how music is downloaded and stored today.
For e-mails, Twitter and Facebook he said he has nothing from the 1960s to compare them to, which is mind-boggling in terms of the rapid advancement in technology.
Joking aside, he warned that though technology is wonderful, it could be impersonal.
"Don't let technology get in the way of those personal relationships you have."
He questioned the ever-changing role of technology in our lives and how that will affect the futures of the graduates.
"As far as the learning of life is concerned, you've just finished Kindergarten. What you know now and what you're going to learn, there's no comparison."
Ross explained that today's society is preparing its students for jobs that don't yet exist, to use technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems that aren't even known about yet.
"Our technological knowledge is doubling every two years and you have a choice," he said. "You can be the leaders, the architects of change… you can be along for the ride, but you won't be controlling it… or you can be a spectator."
"The important thing right now though is that the choice is yours. Make a wise choice for yourself."
Following the awarding of diplomas, Senior Nils Babcock addressed the graduated Class of 2013 with a benediction.
"Thank you for giving us the patience and guidance to make it through the difficult times in our high school careers," he said. "You were there for us during the trying times of construction and when we lost a fellow student. Having support of family and friends has helped us solve our greatest problems."
This ceremony can be viewed in its entirety on local channel 24 or at http://wolfeborocommunitytelevision.com.
More Kingswood graduation photos can be found on pages A12 and A13.