WRHS graduates set off for their "real life"



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Decorated graduation caps have become a tradition at Winnisquam Regional High School, and the Class of 2011 upheld the tradition in fine fashion. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 15, 2011
TILTON — Music teacher Kirk Young was asked to address the Class of 2011 at Winnisquam Regional High School's graduation ceremony last Saturday evening, and said he found the most inspirational thing he could offer was to help them learn from his own mistakes.

Besides offering sage yet humorous advice about credit cards, buying used cars, developing hobbies and never lending or borrowing money from friends, he pointed out one valuable lesson he learned, of which he wanted them to make special note.

"Never fry bacon in the nude," Young said. "I will not elaborate, but suffice it to say it's worth learning this as soon as possible."

Other types of advice were given by Class President Emma Wilcox in her speech to the graduates. Wilcox noted the Class of 2011 had seen many changes over their four years at WRHS, some they liked and some they did not.

"Today marks the day we take change into our own hands. If you want it badly enough, change will happen," Wilcox said.

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Valedictorian Audriana Mekula spoke to classmates on the truths of their educational experiences and their potential for the future in her address at the commencement ceremonies for Winnisquam Regional High School last Saturday evening. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
Valedictorian Audriana Mekula played a game of Truth or Dare with the audience, with truths such as "We are resilient," "We are not perfect, but we do learn," and perhaps one important lesson she found through WRHS administrative secretary Amy Cartmell.

Cartmell, Mekula said, always had a dish of mints on her desk in the main office, with a note that the price for taking a mint was a smile. She asked her classmates to emulate Cartmell's positive attitude and give more than they plan to give each day.

"No matter how bad her day might be, she always goes out of her way to ask how your day is going. Truth number three — we can pay it forward," she said.

Final awards were handed out during the ceremony; five students were honored for athleticism, community service and educational achievements. Jordan Cote and Carolyn Hajdusek received the Athletic Council Award, and Stephanie D'Abbraccio was given the Daniel E. Stockwell Educational Award. The School Board Community Service Award went to Mekula, and the Activity Council Award and the Pucci Award were both presented to Alyson Atherton.

Diplomas were awarded to the 104 graduates by Superintendent Dr. Tammy Davis and Jasen Stock, board member of the Winnisquam Regional School District.

Music for the evening was performed by the WRHS concert band, which played "Down By the Salley Gardens" and "Send Me on My Way," along with traditional processional and recessional songs. Graduate Mary Beck sang the "Star Spangled Banner," and a stirring rendition of "Omnia Sol" was sung by the Winnisquam Chamber Singers.

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Emma Wilcox, president of the Class of 2011 at Winnisquam Regional High School, was the first to receive her diploma last weekend after telling her fellow classmates to make the change they would like to see in the years to come. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
For the closing address, Ian Sleeper referred to the words of musician Colin Hay, from his song, "Waiting For My Real Life to Begin."

"Just be here now, forget about the past; your mask is wearing thin.

Let me throw one more dice; I know that I can win. I'm waiting for my real life to begin."

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Graduation marked a special day in the life of senior Jordan Cote, who sported a baseball hat under his traditional graduation cap, which also bore the logo of the New York Yankees on top. Cote took time to thank social studies teacher Denise Lessard before he moves on to play professional baseball with the Yankees, who drafted him as a pitcher earlier in the week. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
Sleeper said it seems each year of high school that passed, passed more quickly, and perspectives of he and his classmates changed. Small moments, he noted, grow bigger with time and become more important once they are passed.

"There is such potential in our class to do great things. Don't let the moments slip away. There's no time left to put off your real life," he said.

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