Kingswood sends 199 graduates out into the world



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PRINCIPAL PAUL MACMILLAN gave the Commencement Address, his final official speech after 12 years at Kingswood, as Superintendent Jack Robertson looks on. “It’s not about test scores or the highest GPA, its about being well-rounded,” he said. Heather Terragni. (click for larger version)
June 18, 2009
WOLFEBORO — Nothing shone brighter than the sun last Saturday, June 13, but the ray of smiles on the faces of the 199 students making their entrance to the traditional tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" at that morning's Kingswood Regional High School graduation ceremony.

Hot as it was, the weather proved not a deterrent for the friends and family of the Class of 2009, who, overflowing the seats, had to stand or sit in the grass throughout the Commencement Exercises. Led by Class Marshals Caitlin Tappan and Robert Leonard the soon-to-be-graduates filed through an overwhelming gathering of loved ones and supportive underclassman to sit as a group one last time before receiving their formal invitation into the real world.

Senior Lia Thomassian set the tone for the deserving class by declaring, "It was through the challenges that we have learned our greatest life lessons. We have lived to learn and now we will learn to live." She continued by quoting a suitable Dr. Seuss passage, "Congratulations, today is your day, you're off to great places, you're off and away."

Class President Caroline Merrell also chose a quote from the famous children's author to express sentiment towards her classmates. "Today you are you that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is youer than you. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter won't mind." Merrell went on to share that it was through her experience as Class President that she was able to "see, hear and experience the talents of this class," adding that she has "been touched by so many different seniors in many different ways." After citing many of her classmates' talents and accomplishments she stated, "I wish I could speak of everyone in our class because of the tremendous impact they've had on our four years." She even joked that Mr. (Paul) MacMillan, who would be ending his career as the high school principal with the end of the school year, knew there was no better class than 2009 and because of this he "has decided to graduate with [them]."

Chair of the School Board James Rines acknowledged the 30 students who achieved Gold Scholar status throughout the past four years. These students met high academic standards, displayed leadership skills and contributed their time to various community service projects. Rines said that between them the Gold Scholars were responsible for 1,727 combined hours of community service – a feat in itself. The two top scorers receiving Gold Scholar status were Merrell and Cathleen Giguere. The 28 others were: L. Madison Chamberlain, Athena Ellis, Sofia Margarita Falcon, Luis Gamero, Michael Gibson, Victoria Glidden, Michael Hlushuk, Emily Lauer, Kate Lizotte, Conner MacIver, Amanda Madden, Colleen Maguire, Christopher Mancuso, Chad Moulton, Justin Nash, Kirstie Nicol, Elizabeth Orlowicz, Sean Pardy, Cutler Rines, Thomas Roseen, Jasper Sardonicus, Patrick Shannon, Kirsten Silfvenius, Tappan, Thomassian, Alexiss Tisher, Seth Tremblay and Arielle Winchester.

Selected by her peers to represent the Gold Scholars, Giguere spoke of a "bucket list." "Things to do before we die," she stated, "Whatever its name, we all, especially a graduating class, own one." Claiming they've been "building these lists of aspirations since Kindergarten" Giguere added, "we've compiled crazy whims, necessary plans, and even the rare lofty aspiration." She spoke of her classmates' past activities as "windows into a wide world," which they "saw things [they] want to try or to become." In closing Giguere proclaimed, "Our list of ambitions will be a guiding force through the difficult decisions of the coming years…that familiar checklist of goals will be a beacon to keep us on track… We are free to begin the process of checking things off," adding, "we have come far but will go farther."

On a less serious note, Gold Scholar Speaker Hlushuk advised to the Class of 2009, "it's time to leave the bird's nest… It's time to dig up your own worms." After a funny and lighthearted speech – including keeping in touch with one another and poking fun at the possibility of living in your parents basement – Hlushuk ended with another witty analogy, this time to do with ice cream. "It's time to move on to more extraordinary flavors…every single one of you will choose your own flavor." "What flavor will you choose?" he asked.

As is tradition, Tappan, Kalee Burrows, MacIver and Shannon presented a class gift on behalf of their classmates. This year the graduating class chose not one, but two gifts in which they can leave a lasting impression. The first – money to build an art showcase in the new multipurpose building – was deemed by MacIver as "a great place to keep a record of great artwork." The idea is that each year students will be able to choose a different piece of artwork to add to the display in the case located in the lobby of the building. Trumping the first, the second gift was of even greater proportions. The Class of 2009 donated a plaque to be hung in the auditorium in the new multipurpose building, in memory of the school's former music director Bill Gibson. "Our Gib" as Burrows referred to him, has "helped [them] set a lasting beat for life," adding that you could see the "dedication to music in both his eyes and his stride." While sharing memories of the missed teacher, it was apparent that Mr. Gibson had been much more than just a teacher to these students. In hopes of keeping his memory alive and "because his dedication and love for all that he did and to each of his students should never go unnoticed or forgotten," the class presented this plaque as "a lasting tribute."

Citing Principal MacMillan as "a valued member and respected leader of the Kingswood Regional High School community…who cares for each student that passes through its doors," Mancuso introduced MacMillan as the Commencement Speaker. Wrapping up his 12-year career at the school, MacMillan addressed the class of 2009. The modest leader spoke of many of the students' achievements and accomplishments, noting their "positive influence on the surrounding communities." He spoke of the Class's "tremendous responsibility" and "quiet leadership" both academically and throughout the towns. "It's not about test scores or the highest GPA, its about being well-rounded," he said, and this class "is ready to face tomorrows many challenges." In closing he jokingly added that for him, as well as the Class of 2009, "It's time to say goodbye to rusty water and the school of plastic."

Following the Commencement Address, Superintendent Jack Robertson awarded students with their diplomas, which they eagerly crossed the stage to receive. The following students make up the Kingswood Regional High School graduating Class of 2009: Julia Adams, Elizabeth Ahearn, Jordyn Amico, Stephen Anderson, Benjamin Arsenault, Courtney Banville, Derik Barrett, Tyler Barrett, Adam Barron, Khrystyne Bartoswicz, David Batchelder, Smantha Beecher, Michael Belliveau, Erica Bennett, Jacob Berry, Ezra Bickford, Ethan Billings, Zackory Bilodeau, Kathryn Blackden, Jamie Blanchette, Brianna Bochicchio, Amy Booth, Brittany Bosse, Jonathan Boyd, Emilee Brooks, Matthew Burkhardt, Kalee Burrows, Natasha Cameron, Kayla Carpenter, Madison Chamberlain, Jennifer Chamberlin, Samantha Chick, Daniel Cone, Ethan Cookman, Stephen Cormier, Heather Davenport, Dana Davis, Joshua Davis, Jacob DiPrizio, William Donovan, Gunnar Dougan, Athena Ellis, Jacob Erdel, Jacob Evans, Kristen Evans, Katie Fadden, Alicia Fair, Sofia Margarita Falcon, Jennifer Ferrero, Jonathan Fillion, Marc Fitzpatrick, Jacolyn Fogarty, Megan Fontaine, Janel Forcier, Alexis Fritchy, Samuel Gadomski, Robert Gallagher, Luis Gamero, Sara Garland, Michael Gibson, Cathleen Giguere, Gennaro Gillette, Victoria Glidden, Taylor Goddard, Nathan Gonya, Sarah Grasse-Crabtree, Ryann Gustafson, Nicole Haeger, Robert Hale, Alan Harris, Jacob Harzbecker, Daniel Haslam, Alden Hayward, Jessica Hendrickson, Daniel Herbert, Edward Hines IV, Susan Hirtle, Michael Hlushuk, Jarrod Hoage, Jenevieve Hodgson, Matthew Holt, Miranda Horton, Jack Housel, William Hughes, Hannah Hutchinson, Marc Janus, Kendall John, John Kalinksi, Jessica Kalled, Jonathan Kennett, Douglas Kenny, Katlynn Kitchener, Aaron Kolb, Cayleen Lamy, Marie Lander, Faith LaPointe, Emily Lauer, Jillian Leo, Robert Leonard, Samantha Lessard, Meghan Libby, Morgan Little, Kate Lizotte, Tessa Llewellyn, Jesse Lush, Matthew MacDonald, Conner MacIver, Amanda Madden, Colleen Maguire, Ashlee Maillett, Christopher Mancuso, Courtney Maraget, Brent Marcellino, Chelsey Marston, Sheri Martin, Matthew Martino, Michael McAuliffe, Dale McConkey, Scott McCracken, Isaac McKenzie, Michael Medina, Andrew Meisner, Elizabeth Meisten, Kristin Melnik, Caroline Merrell, Alex Milbourn, Loretta Mitchell, Chelsea Moore, Silas Morency, Chad Moulton, Patrick Murphy, Alexandra Murray, Justin Nash, Christopher Nason, Ashley Neely, Kirstie Nicol, Andrew Nixon, Katlin O'Brien, Sarah Olzerowicz, Elizabeth Orlowicz, Abigail Palmatier, Kaitlyn Palmer, Sean Pardy, Rachel Paul-Nelson, Victoria Pelligrino, Molly Perham, Courtney Perry, Keigan Pike, Kyal Pokraka, Twyla Pomponio, Cameron Quigley, Timothy Rainville, Dylan Rees, Cutler Rines, Thomas Roseen, Charles Rousseau IV, Emery Ruel, Jasper Sardonicus, Jaimee Scala, Rebecca Scott, Eric Seamans, Alex Seavey, Patrick Shannon, Leah Shea, Kirsten Silfvenius, Maxwell Smith, Sarah Smith, Sarah Snowdon, Caitlin Southerland, Henry St. Louis IV, Aundrea Steensma, Dalton Swett, Kyle Szapiel, Caitlin Tappan, Daimon Tasker, Matthew Theriault, Keith Therrien, Michael Thomas, Lia Thomassian, Andrea Thompson, Tyler Thurston, Whitney Thurston, Alexiss Tisher, Jacob Topliffe, Daniel Toye, Matthew Toye, Seth Tremblay, Dalton Varney, Myah Vassell, Joshua Vekos, Kevin Wadlinger, Sabre Weir, Christopher West, Tyler Willette, Arielle Winchester, William Winslow III, Nicholas Wons, and Mark Wrightington.

Graduate Michael Gibson ended the ceremony with a benediction. He shared his confidence "that each and every one [them] will meet life's challenges head on and strive to greater achievement." He encouraged them to, "take risks, enjoy new things, grasp, live and enjoy each and every moment." Believing this day "was far away and would never come," Michael's parting words to the Class of 2009 were words spoken by his belated father Bill Gibson, "live each day to the fullest."

In closing, a serpentine sea of green and white caps made its way through the audience to the congratulatory embraces offered up by teary-eyed parents and proud grandparents, excited siblings and relieved teachers, but most importantly, 12 years of hard work was rewarded as they exited as adults ready "to dig up [their] own worms."

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