The Class of 2012 of the North Country Charter Academy posed for a formal photograph an hour before the graduation ceremony began at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, June 3, at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods. Not everyone was on hand, but 43 students earned their high school diplomas. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
June 06, 2012BRETTON WOODS — The North Country Charter Academy graduation ceremony was marked by cheers and tears as students — and one parent — shared heartfelt thanks and spoke of overcoming obstacles to earn a high school diploma — an important step toward a bright future.
Commissioner of Education Virginia "Ginny" Barry described the North Country Charter Academy (NCCS) as a public school that exemplifies the personalization of education that stems from the belief that every student "deserves the best from our state" with each having "the right to a quality education."
She attributed the success of NCCA to great teachers, great leaders, and people who have made a commitment to the future coming together.
Although not every graduate was on hand for the ceremony, 43 graduates are in the Class of 2012. Some 400 proud parents, family members, friends and NCCS trustees attended the nearly two-hour-long celebration; the Grande Dame provided the venue and all associated amenities at no charge.
Keynote speaker John White, the U.S. Department of Education's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, praised those wearing caps and gowns for their persistence that had brought them to this happy day. "This is only the beginning, your first step," White said. "Now you must take your next step at university, state school, White Mountains Community College, trade school or certificate program. Chase your dreams; don't wait; make plans for this fall."
At one time America was first in the world in its percentage of college graduates in the population but has now slipped to 16th, White said. And those living in rural areas in the age group from 18 to 25 are the least likely to go onto further education, even though the regions in which they live needs an educated citizenry the most.
"Pursue your dreams this fall," the former reporter said. White described some of the programs available to help fund higher education. President Barack Obama has doubled the total amount that qualified students can receive under a Pell grant, raising the sum to $5,500, he said. The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan for federal student loans allows eligible students to reduce their monthly loan payments.
Urging students to find mentors, White said that having tapped into the power of community and collaboration and courage to earn their diplomas, all of them should now take the next step to continue their education. Other speakers included NCCA board of trustees vice chairman Greg Odell, Executive Councilor Ray Burton, NCCA teachers and operations manager Pat Kelly, parent Debbie Mitton, and graduating seniors Dylan Foskett of SU #18, Roger Hall of SAU #58, Cheyenne Landry of SAU #36, Alexa Plantz of SAU #36, and Kayla Saucier of SAU #35 plus 2005 graduate James Mercier.
A moment of silence was held in memory of NCCA Class of 2005 graduate Daniel Jock, who died of cancer at the age of 26.
Several awards were presented to members of the Class of 2012: Kayla Saucier of SAU #35, Chairperson's Award, Littleton site, and Alexandra Walker of SAU #36, Chairperson's Award, Lancaster site; and the U. S. President's Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, to Jessica Riff of SAU #7, who went well above expectation in all areas of study while caring for her 2-year-old daughter, and Shawna LeFebvre of SAU #35; and the U. S. President's Academic Award to Ethan Krajniak of SAU #7, Matthew Medina of SAU #36, Anthony Antone of SAU #68 and Kenny Mitton of SAU #36. Joshua Johnson of SAU #23 received special recognition for his outstanding independent vocational program that integrated reading, writing, math and vocational electronics and mechanics. Graduates listed on the program include
Amber Leigh Brown, Randy J. Drouin, Felicia Marie Katherine Nadeau of SAU #33, Berlin; Nelson Michael Chapple of SU #19, Bloomfield; Ethan Krajniak and Jessica Riff of SAU #7, Colebrook; Holly Elizabeth Barnett, Gina Marie Barrette, Tyler Scott Richardson, and Dylan Thomas Foskett of SU #18, Gilman, Lunenburg, and Maidstone: Devin Authelet of SAU #20; Joshua L. Johnson and Tory Leonard of SAU #23, Haverhill Cooperative;
Anthony Joseph Antone Jr., Jason Savannh Ford, Justin Savoung Ford, Cody Lawrence Furbush, Trevor Michael Furbush, and John Michael Parker of SAU #68, Lincoln-Woodstock; Aaron Steven Bonta, Keara Whitney Esposito, and Kelly Ann Yeargle of SAU #84, Littleton; Alexis Marie Cardin and Roger Darrell Hall of SAU #58, Northumberland; Shawna Rene Lefebvre, Kayla Nicole Saucier, and Paige Audrey Swinyer of SAU #35, Profile; Tyler P. Beaton, Marquarius Bightfoot Berryman, Taylor Lynn Caron, Tori Ann Chamberlain, Tegan Alton Fisher, Cheyenne Layce Landry, Zachary Bryant Matthews, Matthew J. Medina, Kenneth J. Mitton, Damon Locksley Ness, Alexa Marie Planz, Joshua Shoemaker, Brandi E. Thompson, Joseph Tito, Alexandra Morgan Walker, and Ellis James Wetherbee of SAU #36 of the five-town WMRSD.