Tears and cheers as Winnisquam celebrates the Class of 2009



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Taylor Lacroix (left) and Kris DeVolder are all smiles as they perform the traditional flip of the tassel to signify they have officially graduated from WRHS Friday night. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
June 17, 2009
TILTON — When Class of 2009 President Derek Boucher spent a day at Canobie Lake Park when he was 6, he pondered what he could eat that wouldn't "come back up" on a ride, because he didn't want that one ride to ruin his whole day. He cautioned his fellow classmates about this as well.

"We must always remember that we will encounter many rides," he said. "Don't let one ride ruin your experiences. Welcome to the commencement of the rest of our lives."

Full of heartfelt emotion, Valedictorian Rachel Sibulkin spoke through a veil of tears as she recalled all the class had endured over the years together. She was joined by a few others who wiped their eyes as they listened to her recount their childhood, the trauma of 9/11 and the close bonds they had formed. She struggled to wish them all the best in the future as she made her way back to her seat.

Awards were handed out to students prior to the diplomas. Kelsey Plimpton received the Activity Council Award, Katie Potter took home both the Athletic Council Award for a female and the Daniel E. Stockwell Education Award. Kristen Waltos was awarded the School Board Community Service Award and Alex Roy received the male Athletic Council Award along with the Pucci Award.

For his graduation address business teacher Scott Maltzie cautioned he had to treat his speech "like a newborn" as he had only written it four hours earlier. He had, however, given much thought over the years to what he would say to any graduating class who ever thought him worthy of speaking to them. Citing many cliches, such as "Today is the first day of the rest of your lives," he said that while they were all noble sentiments, the world today was much too complex for such words. True intent was more important and he hoped his intent would be evident. He felt strongly that honesty would be vital in their future.

"Honesty is a reflection of your character," he told them. "Honesty may seem like a challenge, but it is essential to what you do."

He teased the students by saying they reminded him at times of the "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television," bringing laughter from the class. On a serious note, he reminded them that they received four years filled with wise words from their education and hoped that they had all listened.

"I'm a better person because of each of you," he concluded. "Don't forget those you've left behind to get to this point. And those of you going off to serve our country - Keep your heads down!"

Musical selections were performed by the Chorus and Concert Band. "Long Time Ago," "Zoot Suit Riot," and music from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," along with a choral presentation of the Class Song, "Our Time Now" by the Plain White Tees saw seniors participating for one final time with the two groups.

Chairman of the School Board Mike Gagne and Superintendent Dr. Tammy Davis congratulated each student as one by one they were called onstage to receive their diplomas. Honor graduate Christopher Foster then made the closing remarks, saying that "This is only one step on the long ascending staircase which is life."

With a broad smile, Principal Kimberly Saunders announced the time had finally come to place their tassels to the right side of their mortar boards. She then proclaimed the young men and women before her to be the official graduates of the Class of 2009. Decorated caps flew through the air above their heads and a loud cheer echoed off the gymnasium walls.

A reception in honor of the graduates was held immediately after the ceremonies before they set out, as stated in the old cliche their former teacher had quipped earlier, for the "first day of the rest of their lives."

Salmon Press
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