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NRHS Class of 2011 ready to take on the world

Hats off to the Newfound Regional High School Class of 2011! After the completion of commencement exercises on Saturday morning, the newest Newfound grads celebrate with gusto! (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
June 15, 2011
BRISTOL—There were bittersweet tears and unrestrained laughter in abundance as the Newfound Regional High School Class of 2011 took part in graduation ceremonies in the High School gymnasium this past Saturday morning.

The graduation ceremony was moved indoors due to the inclement weather, but the drizzling rain and cold did nothing to dampen the spirit of the occasion as 93 seniors bid a fond farewell to the staff, teachers and their fellow students at NRHS.

Principal Michael O'Malley and Newfound School Superintendent Marie Ross both congratulated the outgoing seniors on their many accomplishments, including successful completion of this year's new rigorous academic requirement — a senior project—requiring substantial research, writing, and ultimately, an oral presentation on a subject near and dear to the student's heart. The depth and scope of the students' projects were celebrated, along with their willingness to be pioneers in undertaking such a comprehensive challenge as part of their academic career.

O'Malley applauded the students' academic accomplishments while also noting the large numbers of students who took part in sports and extracurricular activities in the course of their high school years. Of the 93 grads, 33 have been recognized by none other than Gov. John Lynch as celebrated New Hampshire Scholars.

While 61 of the Newfound grads have been accepted to a college of their choice, five students will go directly into the service of their country in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. They were given a standing ovation for their decision to enter the military after graduation.

Newfound Regional High School Class of 2011 Valedictorian Abby Erler is congratulated on her stellar achievements by School Board Chairperson Mary Campbell during graduation ceremonies this past Saturday morning at NRHS. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
"You have all set very high standards for the future," said O'Malley. "We are very proud of everything you have done, and all you will become."

The graduating students were given a rousing welcome by Class President Kerry Mattson, who chose, among other things, to congratulate them on finally winning the highest Winter Carnival score after four years of striving for the achievement. They then heard an innovative "tag team" address delivered by the dynamic duo of Class Salutatorians David Herbert and Sean Coleman. The two scholars tied in a statistical dead heat for the rank of second best academic average in the Class of 2011, and rose to the occasion by delighting their classmates with a dual address, in rhyme no less, leaving no doubt as to both their considerable collegiality and talent.

Class Valedictorian Abby Erler was praised by English Department Chairperson Natalie Murphy not just for her academic excellence, but for her participation in extracurricular and athletic activities, as well as her strong commitment to volunteerism.

In her remarks, Erler recounted some of the valuable lessons learned in the classroom and elsewhere over the course of the last four years, with the traditional allusions and "inside jokes" that only Newfound seniors fully comprehend... or possibly want to.

The attendees at this year's graduation also gave a salute to Brian Woodman, the People's Choice Award winner for an outstanding senior project. For his project, Woodman built an electric guitar, which he then used to entertain audiences with music by Bach. The creativity and ingenuity of the students were on display for all to witness as they made their department official for destinations known unknown. Congratulations to the NRHS Class of 2011, and best wishes in every endeavor.

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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