Class of 2009 remembers classmate



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Ken Wiswell, GHS principal, hands out a diploma. Danielle DeLisle. (click for larger version)
June 17, 2009
The Gilford Class of 2009 has a lot to celebrate. They have made it through 13 years of school and are now spreading their wings to take their next steps on the road of life.

This could mean joining the workforce, going to college or seeing the world. Before they get to that, however, friends and family saw them off during their graduation ceremony held on June 13 at Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion.

The graduates wore the traditional blue and gold of GHS while marshals Bristol Whitcher and Patrick Donohue marched them in to the infamous "Pomp and Circumstance" instrumental.

"I want you to remember the lessons you have learned that got us here today," said Alexis Adams, class president.

It is tradition for each class to give a gift to the school in memory of their times there. This year the graduating class gifted a song composed in memory of their classmate Alex Rowson, who was involved in a fatal car accident last year. He would have graduated with the class of 2009.

The song was composed by Thomas Bougault entitled "Light Through Budding Trees" and was performed by the GHS Symphonic Band and Concert Choir. Rowson's mother, Lynn, was invited onto the stage where she thanked the class for their gift.

"After Alexander's death, our family learned that a broken heart still beats and that the love Alex shared with the world grew into an amazing and loving support system that continues today," Rowson wrote in an email to the Steamer after the ceremony, having been too choked up to speak before. "We miss our son from the very bottom of our hearts and we will miss this senior class which has memorialized Alex forever at GHS and in the community. Thank You Gilford."

Lindsey Nelson, the salutatorian, spoke about taking chances and added that it is up to each individual to decide what they will become. She recounted the tale of the Cherokee that describes two wolves, one of which epitomizes all good virtues and the other, which epitomizes all vices. They are always in constant battle and the wolf that wins is the one that is fed.

"Feed the good wolf," said Nelson.

Performing for the last time as GHS students Sarah Ayer, Cecily Bryant, Jami Harmon, Spencer Klubben, Brittany Murphy Jaclyn Snow, Erika Warnick, Seamus Kirwan and Michael Signorine sang and played "High Tide or Low Tide" by Bob Marley. Next, it is traditionally the honor of the student with the highest grade point average to address the class. This year the honor went to Tyler Murphy.

"Now I am on of the last obstacles standing between you and your diploma," Murphy joked. "I have a lot of power standing here. I could make this speech last forever, but with great power comes great responsibility and those this speech will only last for the next seven minutes and seventeen seconds, give or take."

The title of last obstacle went to the keynote speaker Jim Kemmerer, principal of Gilford Middle School, who is retiring at the end of the year. Most of the graduating class had Kemmerer as a teacher in fourth grade and many received hugs from their former teacher as they received their diplomas.

"Don't miss an opportunity to laugh at yourself," advised Kemmerer. "You are probably the funniest person you know."

To illustrate he described his first outing on the boat his family just purchased. He had never pulled a boat into a slip before and during the ensuing embarrassing episode he imparted lessons on the departing class. Whenever you get in over your head it's ok to ask for help. Sometimes you have to step back and look at things from another angle. Life will always have its ups and downs, but to weather them with optimism.

"I am very excited," said Adams. "I was a little nervous speaking today, but now I plan to hang out with my friends."

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