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Kingswood Regional High graduates 210

ERIN MAGUIRE AND TIM CAMPBELL led the graduates in to the Kingswood Regional High School graduation ceremony last Saturday, May 28, at The Nick in Wolfeboro. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
June 02, 2011
WOLFEBORO — The smiles of 210 graduates and those important to them was enough to light up what was otherwise an overcast day at Kingswood Regional High School's commencement exercise held Saturday, May 28, at The Nick Recreation Park in Wolfeboro.

The imminent weather – which did hold off, thankfully –was no deterrent to the positive atmosphere and definitely not symbolic of the class's outlook on its future as individual members of society.

The presenting students were all very well-spoken, the commencement speaker funny, and the transition from segment to segment swift, making for a memorable ceremony that the class of 2011 and their families can forever appreciate.

Just one of their many achievements over the past four years the class graduated 34 gold scholars, the highest number to date, said Jack Widmer, Chairman of the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board.

In order to reach gold scholar status students must excel academically, as a leader, and involve themselves in community service. Among other criteria gold scholars must maintain a 3.4 grade point average or higher, score over a certain target in standardized testing, and participate extra curricular activities.

This year, seniors Gabrielle Horton and Anna Vaughn were the two top gold scholars.

Number One Gold Scholar Horton said it best when she said, "It's time for us to decide what comes next."

Her hope for her fellow graduates was that by the next time they are asked, "what do you want to do with your life," they will be able to confidently answer, "I'm doing it."

"Never let go of the dreams and hobbies that define the individual that you are," she said.

Advocating that "laughter is the best medicine for difficult times," she parted by recommending to her classmates, "laugh, enjoy now, love what your doing right now, and the future will unfold as you go."

Equally sentimental, Vaughn spoke on behalf of her class by expressing her appreciation for the support they've received from countless people, most importantly, from the teachers at Kingswood. These are the people who, she said, have shared much more than academic knowledge with them and who have made a habit of going above and beyond for their students.

"It has been nice to know that there are people here at this school who generally care about their students."

Other student also met high standards in academic achievement, citizenship and community service. Forty students made silver scholar status and 22 more made green and white scholar status. Combined, these students donated more than 5,000 hours of service to the community, said Widmer.

One gold scholar, Class President Caitlyn Brooks, shared her memories and experiences leading up to this day.

"The weeks, months and years that led to today's ceremony and the days that will follow have been and will be stepping stones to achieving our hopes and aspirations for the future," she said.

She reminded her fellow classmates that they are all "part of history in the making and will continue to be so when [they] enter the global society."

Brooks left the graduates with a motto to live by:

"Don't just sit back and watch as your life goes by and wonder what just happened, rather get out there, get involved and make a difference."

In a more lighthearted fashion, Alexander Lapar and Andrew Keaton presented two class gifts to high school Principal Guy Donnelly.

The first was something for everyone to enjoy: two five foot tall wind chimes that will be hung outside the Kingswood Arts Center.

"Music, art, wind chimes, it all just makes sense together," they joked.

Additionally the senior class has started a fund, The Class of 2011 Helping Hand Fund, to help upcoming seniors with the burden of prom and class dues.

Kristen Phillips introduced commencement speaker Michael Valentine as, "one of the most influential teachers Kingswood has ever known."

A social studies teacher at the school since 2000 and a favorite among students, Phillips explained how "truly amazing" and "unique in every sense of the word" Valentine has been.

It is his wide array of, "hilarious stories of his past journeys to his death glare that would make you die just a little inside" that prompted she and her classmates to chose him as their keynote speaker.

True to Phillips description, in a witty speech laced with personal, yet relevant, stories Valentine congratulated the students on the successful completion of what he called, "big people school."

He stressed that the graduates build character by being part of a community, part of something bigger than themselves.

"Change is good and can be self-rewarding," he said, "Who you are and who we are as a people and culture matters."

Valentine left the students four simple qualities he hopes they will continue to develop throughout their lives: responsibility, respect, commitment to community, and integrity.

Before the diplomas were awarded a moment of silence was held in remembrance of Terry Beesley, a longtime bus driver for the district, who recently passed away. Also in commemoration a pink flower was given to each of the students as they received their diplomas in honor of Stacey Burns.

On behalf of all those in attendance Principal Donnelly expressed regret that one graduate, Donald Flanders, was unable to attend graduation due to injuries sustained by a terrible December car accident. Regardless, Flanders has earned his diploma and will receive it accordingly.

Though she was the first presenter to speak, Asia Steadman provided the graduates with words to live by.

"Let this be the beginning of our independent, self sufficient, happy and successful lives… Let us show the world from this day forward what we are capable of."

In the end it was graduate Joseph Kurzawa who summed up the ceremony in just a few fitting words. "Congrats, goodbye, good luck," he said to his fellow graduates. "Have fun out there. We did it!"

Martin Lord Osman
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Varney Smith
Armen Kevorkian
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