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LHS grads advised to embrace a passion and lifelong learning



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As the recessional begins, class marshals Dylan Hartford and Alison MacKay led the way to the future for the LHS Class of 2014. Darin Wipperman/Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
June 11, 2014
LITTLETON— A packed Littleton High School gym hosted graduation ceremonies on Saturday morning for the Class of 2014. The 65 graduates were praised for their 9,783 hours of community service, as well as for the hard work that made the morning's momentous event possible.

"We live in a community that cares deeply about education," school board chairman Jim Anan said. This was evidenced on Thursday evening, he continued, when members of the graduating class received more than $250,000 in scholarships. "You are the reason we do what we do," Anan informed the graduates.

The Class of 2014 should focus on their passion, Anan continued. "When you find your passion, you will find your purpose," he said. "You were created for something bigger than yourself," Anan concluded, so he hoped the graduates would find "the courage to rock your own boat."

Interim principal Harvey Black discovered much to praise in the year he shared with the Class of 2014. He hoped they would lead lives of problem solving, critical thinking, and lifelong learning. To improve the world around them, Black requested, "I ask you now to be visionaries."

Class president Hayley Norman provided an overview of the last four years. "Not a day went by," she said of her classmates, "where someone from this incredible group of people was unable to make you smile."

Norman then echoed the ideas district leadership articulated. "The path we choose will be for a special reason," she declared, "and we must move on to do so." Regardless of the exact course her classmates will chart, Norman asked them to "always remember you're there because you worked for it, and deserve everything you fought for."

"I refuse to say goodbye," Norman concluded, "but I will compromise and say, 'See you soon.'"

Salutatorian Hannah Lavoie spoke of each memory as a penny. "Collecting one penny in a piggy bank is like taking the first step on a journey," she said. "The task at hand," Lavoie said to her fellow graduates, "will not seem as daunting if you take it one step or one penny at a time."

As a basket was passed around that included a lucky penny for each graduate, Lavoie said the coin serves "as a reminder of your bright and shiny future." She said the graduates' futures will be shaped by how challenges are met. "Hard work will often be the solution to many of our problems," she suggested.

In conclusion, Lavoie congratulated her classmates, then asked them to "go out and make your own luck."

As part of her address, valedictorian Olivia Paradice read a poem that was written by classmate Chloe Pilgrim. Entitled "Home," the poem states that home can be "a face, a voice, a laugh more honest and familiar than any truth we've ever known."

Appreciating the many people who helped along the way, Paradice happily said, "There are no words to describe how thankful I am to every one of you." To her classmates in particular, Paradice noted how they had changed her for the better. "I wish you all long and happy lives," she concluded.

Class advisor and assistant superintendent Al Smith offered several pieces of practical advice before graduates received their diplomas. "Keep it simple," Smith suggested. This was especially important, he continued, as life will continue to be more complicated.

To deal with the difficulties ahead, Smith provided five suggestions for the graduates. Being on time, working hard, and staying healthy were first mentioned. He also requested that the graduates "do not do anything that would disappoint your grandmother."

Thanks to their strong history of community service, Smith said the Class of 2014 had already demonstrated his fifth piece of advice, "Be kind."

As the recessional played, graduates made their way from the stage to an outdoor community gathering. As both memories and next steps were discussed in large and small groups, the graduates seemed content with a past of strong support from others and a future as bright as the sun that broke through clouds to make for a pleasantly warm late spring day.

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