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Reflections and lessons highlight BHS graduation

Members of the Belmont High School Class of 2011 come down from the stage at Meadowbrook. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)

Kyle Hilliard shakes hands with Shaker Regional School Board Chair Prett Tuthill. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
June 15, 2011
BELMONT — Graduates and speakers reflected on memories, change, and tests of character during Belmont High School's graduation.

The Class of 2011 took their final walk on Friday night at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion in Gilford.

"Education is the embodiment of humanity's hopes and dreams," said Senior Class Advisor Rachel Small.

Small said that in history, children would have to take the jobs their parents had and be limited by their socioeconomic class in what they could do in life. Small said education provided a way to break from this, giving students any opportunity.

"You, and you alone, are the deciding factors of your success; in the end, you have to make the choice to succeed," Small said. "For graduates, this is the official day you have completed your first long-term goal. For parents, this is a day to celebrate your child's accomplishments. We, as a society, celebrate our belief that people, given an equal opportunity, can make their own destiny."

Salutatorian Dan Powell said in life, good and bad moments will happen.

"It is in these bad parts that the true judge of your character is defined," Powell said.

Courtney Gilbert gives a flower and a hug to family friend Michelle Allen during the Flower Ceremony at Belmont High School’s graduation. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
Powell said one such moment for him was when his father was hospitalized with a stroke. He received a call from his mother, saying his father was now going into surgery, and he should talk to him now because it might be the last time. Powell said after two brain surgeries and five months in the hospital, his father came home in time for Christmas.

Powell sad this crisis built him up as a person, making him much closer to his family and giving him a closer relationship with God.

"I grew as a person and as a man," Powell said. "I would focus my energy in becoming who I am today."

Powell read the poem "Footprints," describing how God will carry people through their bad times.

Valedictorian Courtney Clary. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
"Enjoy the good times, and don't let the bad times get you down," Powell said. "If (God) brings you through it, He will carry you through it."

Valedictorian Courtney Clary thanked the parents for their efforts over the years of school through listening to complaints about "stupid teachers," to getting them on the bus in the morning, to sitting through "awful" concerts and plays and still saying they were good.

Clary spoke of the importance of setting goals, recalling the story of a soccer player who was six goals shy of a record in one game. While it is considered next to impossible for one person to score six goals in one game, the player scored the seventh goal with 14 seconds to spare on the clock.

"We go through like constantly reminded by our parents, teachers, and coaches that we need to set goals for ourselves," Clary said. "I'm sure some of us here were told we'd never make it far. Silence your critics, take that doubt and use it as fuel."

Salutatorian Daniel Powell. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
Clary said one such example was how she is nervous about public speaking, and was told by someone that she should not speak in public. Clary said she did not know giving her speech if she silenced her critic.

"Remember to thank your critics; make sure you do it in the most public way, with cameras present," Clary said.

Guidance secretary Caryn O'Connell gave the keynote address, saying she has had a "fabulous journey" in the 30 years since she graduated high school, raising a family and working in her career at the school.

"All of us are looking to your generation; to how you will be the next leaders of tomorrow," O'Connell said. "I can tell you from real life experience that life is not fair, and bad things happen to good people. Acts of kindness and good deeds go a long way in making the world a better place."

O'Connell said the students should look at this moment as a new start to their lives.

"It is during times of success that people will know your name, and it is during times of hardship that people will know your character," O'Connell said.

Music teacher Ray Craigie took the mic after diplomas were passed out, saying he and the students had something in common — they are all leaving high school.

"It's a big change for all of us, and we're ready," Craigie said. "I'm sure we'll all remember these high school years with varying degrees of fondness. You should live the moment; get your face out of your phone to enjoy the people who are around you right now because you know we're moving on, we're moving out of here right now. Never stop learning, never stop questioning, and if circumstances call for it, a little heckling from the back row works wonders."

Three students were presented with awards. The Rev. Fitzpatrick Memorial Award was given to Nicholas Clements. Daniel Powell won the Kenneth F. Muzzey Award, and he Roland S. Kimball award was presented to Peter Chynoweth.

Before the passing of diplomas, students took part in the flower ceremony where they gave out flowers to family and friends in the audience. The ceremony provided several moments of emotional hugs and tears from both graduates and loved ones.

The Belmont High School Class of 2011 is:

Oshee Baugus, Tabitha Beauchesne, Trevor Beaupre, Shantel Beckford, Katrina Benwell, Jesse Berwick, Gregory Bickford, Danielle Bilodeau, Ryan Blajda, Jesse Blanchard, Emily Boissoneault, Christopher Brace, Nicholas Briggs, Jacob Bryant, Jarek Caldwell, Michele Cantelo, David Caouette, Nicholas Cass, Peter Chynoweth, Jacob Cilley, Courtney Clary, Nicholas Clements, Kayla Cormier, Robert Cozzens, Miranda Currier, Tyler Dami, Zachary Davies, Morgan Davis, Tyler Debonee, Alexander Desmarais, Molly Dole, Olivia Doucette, Sarah Drewry, Sarah Dube. Davita Elliott, Abbagail Ellsworth, Jack Estes, Jonathan Fitts, Joseph Fitzgerald, Patrick Flynn, Taylor Frazel, Chantel-Renee Gagne, Kyla Gagne, Nicole Gagnon, Courtney Gilbert, Stephanie Guerin, Shaun Guertin, Kimberly Hall, Emily Hammare, Callie Hampton, Kyle Hilliard, Melissa Holub, Kierstin Houle, Ethan Hutchinson, Kendra Jalbert, Keenan Johnson, Alex Kelley, Scott King, Jordan Lacoste, Bing Yi Liu, Jessica Lorette, Robert Lowe, Lily Macey, Alyssa Mahlstedt, Stephen McCammon, Sean McWilliams, Victoria Miracle, Taylor Morrill, Katie O'Brien, Jennifer Ortakales, Daniel Osgood, Nicholas Paquette, Richard Perez, Christie Perry, Joy Piper, Carmen Pizarro, Ryan Pooler, Daniel Powell, Sara Prout

Samantha Ranger, Rayanna Robak, Levi Robie, Joshua Romprey, Elizabeth Russo, Christopher Sanborn, Christopher Segelstrom, Chelsea Smith, Daniel Sullivan, Hillary Taillefer, Shawna Talbot, Paul Trindall, and Ariel Wright.

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