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Diverse group says farewell to LHS



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Showing they are ready to face the world, these five graduates strike a pose after Saturday’s graduation. From left are, Katie Foster, Halie Olszowy, Katharine Boivin, Katelyn Vickery and Nicole Baker. Art McGrath. (click for larger version)
June 16, 2010
LITTLETON—For a few moments it seemed like the attack of the killer balloons, but after kicking and hitting their way free of the latex devils which had fallen onto the stage, 73 Littleton High School graduates got away diplomas in hand, marching to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance."

Of course the ceremony didn't have such a perilous start, as family and friends watched the seniors march carefully into the school gym for their last hour as high school students. They lined up on the stage, class marshals marking time, the diplomas on a table near the speaker's podium. More than one student stole a glance at the pile knowing their diplomas were within reach.

Class Secretary Lindsey Hadlock led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by Halie Olszowy, class president and valedictorian, who gave the welcome address and spoke of the variety of people in the graduating class and the enormous growth all of them had experienced. School Board Chairman Art Tighe congratulated the students, telling them they had spent more than 2,000 days of their lives in school. He told them to always remember their hometown.

After the school chorus sang, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," Principal Al Smith gave his message to the graduates. Several students had advised him to keep it short, he said, and while the students looked attentive, he was certain quite a few of them were daydreaming during his speech. He said he did have a piece of advice appropriate to this class, advice written by Art Linkletter.

"'Things turn out better for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out,'" Smith quoted.

In keeping with his tradition from previous years, Smith then donned a hat for part of his address, this time a cowboy hat and telling them that "life is a dude ranch." He said the students would be presented with "obstacles, challenges and when you allow, opportunities." How each of these is dealt with will all depend upon attitude, he said.

"Seniors, my question to all of you is…will your attitude foster or derail your success?" Smith said.

Olszowy returned to the stage to give her address. She noted how unnerving it can be to address so many hundreds of people. She said that in a class recent English class she read a work from 1951 by William Faulkner, "Address to the Graduating Class of University High School." In it Faulkner said that the power of the atomic bomb was not its destructive power but the fear of it. Olszowy said each of us makes a choice everyday that will affect ourselves and others.

"The ultimate choice some of us have perhaps already made is whether one will follow individual spirit or become fearful of the spirit of others, scared out of individuality," Olszowy said.

Hadlock spoke next and noted that unlike some of the other classes, her class was not known for any one thing.

"Collectively, it is hard to describe us. Then it came to me that this is not a bad thing…I choose to describe us as 'diverse,'" Hadlock said. She said that while thinking about what to write, Walker, a friend of hers, told her to make sure the speech wasn't mushy or he was leaving. As she said this, a hand went up from among the graduates to much laughter.

Hadlock apologized to Walker and said she was going to get a little mushy. She read a short children's book based on the classic Little Engine That Could." It was called, I Knew You Could, by Craig Dorfman.

Before the diplomas were passed out, Superintendent Tommy Stephens gave his message to the graduates. This was the end of Stephens first year as superintendent and his first graduation in Littleton. At the beginning of the year he started as an interim superintendent. He is now a permanent superintendent. His Georgia accent was quite pronounced, something he made light of several times.

Stephen's entitled his talk, "If you are not the lead dog in a dog sled team—the scenery never changes."

Stephens said he was confident that each of the graduates would be successful so they would not have to look at the dog in front of them.

After the diplomas were handed out, hundreds of maroon and white balloons fell onto the stage, covering the graduates, who spent a lot of time hitting them back and forth. So many balloons were being popped it sounded like fireworks were going off on the stage but soon a path was cleared and though they continued to kick balloons out of the way, the graduates left to await well wishers on the roof of the career and technical center.

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