Lin-Wood grads look beyond their GPAs

Tanner Burrows and Cassidy LaRue celebrating the end of high school while walking off the stage to Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget about Me)." Meg Brown/Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
June 11, 2014
LINCOLN—"Like a venn diagram," Valedictorian Kayla Fadden explained, "we are each vastly different in our personalities, goals, and lifestyles, but are drawn together by one location, one journey. Tonight," she continued, "we finally release the bonds locking us to this common focal point, knowing that we will always share this moment, these two towns."

The 26 graduates of Lin-Wood Public School's Class of 2014 took to the stage to celebrate the end and reflect on memories presented to the audience in a slideshow of photographs taken over the years. Graduates shed tears of thanks while passing out roses to those who had the biggest impact on their lives, and presented their advisors and senior class trip chaperones with gifts, grateful for the help and fun they had shared.

"We can only be guided so far, [however]," Salutatorian Vincent Bomba explained. "What remains is our own self reliance" and motivation, which is "the catalyst to the bright future we dream about."

The students' strong motivation is what led to their earning over $50k in scholarships from 24 local businesses and organizations, as revealed by guidance counselor Shawn Quinn. He further attested to the motivation of Lin-Wood students, revealing how frequently they were at his door seeking advice. I wasn't sure "whether to charge them [students] rent or water them," Quinn laughed.

Of the nearly thirty scholarships and awards listed in the program, the Lincoln-Woodstock Chamber of Commerce Award was presented to Maria Spanos, with Markie Boyce earning the Burndy Award and the Loon Mountain Corporation Award going to Kayla Fadden, Kimberly Vance, Arnold Ham and Cassidy LaRue—to name a few. Students were awarded based on their "hectic schedules"—as Bomba described—of academics, participation in the school community, work, and service in the greater communities of Lincoln and Woodstock. Speakers noted the versatility of students, revealing many who not only managed to work, participate in community service and be three season athletes, but to do all of this and stay on top of their studies by maintaining a high GPA.

However, as Fadden argued, "being successful in this world isn't about having the highest grade point average, but having the greatest sense of character and personal happiness…Life isn't about working toward one objective" she continued, "or walking the same path to school every morning. We have all become well-rounded individuals able to step into unexplored territory…it is essentially our responsibility to carve our own paths-to plot our own future trajectories."

Bomba would agree, declaring, "As each student receives their diploma tonight, we will take what we have learned, what we have fought for and those things that remain to be accomplished, and shed and conquer what we once thought was unthinkable."

Additional speakers included Bailey Clermont delivering a welcome speech with class president Meghann Vance presenting a farewell address. The select chorus also performed Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" during the ceremony.

The graduates marched off the stage—diplomas in hand—to the nostalgic "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds ending an "event [that] will stay preserved; a flashbulb memory" as Fadden earlier described it. With left sided tassels, the graduates are ready to take on another battle—one that has little to do with a grade point average.

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