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Newfound graduates look forward to future challenges

The Class of 2012 tosses their caps after being officially introduced as the Class of 2012 at Newfound Regional High School graduation on June 9. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
June 13, 2012
BRISTOL—Under warm sunshine and blue skies, family, friends, community members and faculty and staff at Newfound Regional High School (NRHS) gathered on June 9 to watch the Class of 2012 graduate in a ceremony on the field hockey field.

The event began at 9:30 a.m., as graduates marched down to the field as the high school band played "Pomp and Circumstance." Once all graduates marched to their seats, senior class member Hallie Geldermann led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The ceremony then began with the high school band playing the school's Alma Mater, and the audience and class of 2012 were welcomed by NRHS Principal Michael O'Malley.

"No function in our society is more important than passing on traditions to our younger generation," O'Malley said.

He highlighted the class' major accomplishments, mentioning that the class had 34 New Hampshire scholars, and 64 seniors involved in one or more sports. O'Malley also boasted that 60 percent of the class would continue on the post secondary education.

"There really isn't any knowledge I personally have to expend," said O'Malley. "I have used it all up over the past four years."

After O'Malley, Chair of the Newfound Area School District School Board, Vincent Paul Migliore addressed the Class of 2012 with a speech with commitment in mind.

"I wish to acknowledge all of the parents who showed up to their child's graduation," said Migliore. "It is no small feat to be a parent in today's world."

Migliore spoke to the class about perusing their goals, deciding what is important to them and being confident in their decisions.

"Identify what's important to you, size up your chances and go for it, but only if you're committed," said Migliore.

He noted that over the past four years, the Class of 2012 has had several perfect examples of commitment, including the Friends of Newfound Football.

Once Migliore completed his speech, Superintendent Dr. Marie Ross addressed the Class of 2012 in a speech about adding value. She noted that the students of the Class of 2012 are more than test scores or numbers — that each student is composed of so much more.

"I am hoping that your staff and faculty at Newfound Regional High School added value," said Ross.

Ross also took the time to celebrate with the class the achievements that aren't recognized on Senior Awards Night, on the field or court or often aren't recognized at all: the personal struggles and battles it take each student to get to graduation day; whether it was pregnancy, the death of a family member or a friend, homelessness or moving.

"I want to celebrate your battle, whatever it may be," said Ross.

Ross noted the commitment and service of the Class of 2012, and promised them that as they walked through the halls of NRHS hundreds of times, they added value to the school.

"We are more valuable because you passed down our hallways," said Ross.

After Ross, Senior Class President Victoria Santry spoke to the Class of 2012 about differences. She noted that as small children, they often tried to emulate siblings or role models, and now, as young men and women the Class of 2012 has learned to accept and enjoy their differences.

"We are all unique, but have common successes and common failures," said Santry. "We made it here as one. We came together as a class despite our differences, and became a family."

In closing, Santry thanked peers, coaches, teachers, parents and community members for helping to get the Class of 2012 through high school.

Santry also presented O'Malley with the class gift, a check for the Bears Booster Club intended to make improvements to the seating at the baseball and soccer fields.

"The wishes of the class are to improve the bleachers near the baseball and soccer fields," said Santry.

After Mr. O'Malley gratefully accepted the class gift, Carrie Ware introduced Salutatorian Hallie Geldermann and presented her with the Salutatorian Awards for 2012.

Ware noted some of Geldermann's accomplishments in high school, including her participation in track, cross country and alpine skiing, student council, and her work with the Special Olympics. Geldermann will be attending the University of Maine at Orono in the fall.

In Geldermann's Salutatorian address, she spoke about the great accomplishments the Class of 2012 will leave behind to be proud of, including the championships won, the 1,000 points scored and the near perfect seasons.

"It has been a long journey that I have shared with you," said Geldermann. "We have witnessed some great accomplishments."

Gelderman also shined the spotlight on her parents and the parents of her classmates, whose tireless effort, support and dedication didn't go unnoticed.

"The other well deserved spotlight belongs to our parents and families," said Geldermann. "Without them, I would not have been able to work hard at the task placed before me."

Following Geldermann's address, John Argiropolis awarded Carlene Huard with the 2012 Valedictorian Award, highlighting what he called her "prolific academic career," her dedication to both the ski team and the volleyball team, her involvement in student council, and her involvement in the band, playing the flute. Huard will be attending Yale in the fall, and Argiropolis joked that, "She's the only person who knows the road from Danbury to Yale."

In her Valedictorian address, Huard not only highlighted the class' accomplishments, but offered more practical advice about future failure.

"We will encounter challenges, confrontations and failures," said Huard. "All of these give us an opportunity to learn. They will bring something to our growth and to our character."

She also noted a memorable moment in her tenth grade Honors English class, where in a book, the class encountered the Latin phrase "carpe diem." When the teachers asked the class what it meant, they all knew it meant seize the day.

Huard and her classmates soon realized their teacher wasn't talking about the translation, but what "seize the day" actually meant ,and today, Huard felt she had a sufficient explanation.

"My parting advice to you is this: carpe diem; seize the day," said Huard. "As a great modern philosopher once said, 'You only live once.'"

The commencement address was delivered by Mr. Steven Christensen, a Class of 2012 advisor, who explained that he and the students both experienced the same monumental high school events together including: winter carnival, prom, spring fling, championship sports teams and senior class trip. He offered the class to pursue careers in where their passions lie.

"Pursue your life with a passion," said Christensen. "You need to pursue careers you are passionate about."

He also warned students that after leaving Saturday's ceremony, the rules will begin to change that the real world doesn't offer the comfort and protection of Newfound Regional High School.

"There will be plenty of challenges to be met," reminded Christensen. "When you walk through those gates, the rules change. Out there, not everyone makes the team."

Christensen assured the class that though they may not always make the team, and there will be challenges to be faced, the Class of 2012 always has a support system back home in their families, NRHS and himself.

"I hope that all of you have a loving support group in your time of need," said Christensen. "My door, like always, will be open."

With all speeches complete, the NRHS band played "Ashokan Farewell" and Migliore presented the Class of 2012 with their diplomas.

Congratulations to Newfound Regional High School Class of 2012.

Garnett Hill
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Northern Human Services
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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