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Cheers and tears mark Belmont High graduation



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Red and white caps set sail on the stage of the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion last Friday when Belmont High School principal Russell Holden finally presented the graduates of the Class of 2012. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 13, 2012
BELMONT — There were both cheers and tears when the 117 members of Belmont High School's Class of 2012 took center stage at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular pavilion for their graduation ceremonies on June 6 as proud family members and friends looked on.

Principal Russell Holden proudly led the procession of faculty and graduates down the aisles of the pavilion, and took a moment to reflect on the their time in high school.

"Four years ago, they first came to the school as young children. They leave here today as young adults ready to enter the world," Holden said. "They have met the challenges I presented them with, and I commend them for that."

Salutorian Kathleen Lipshultz then spoke of her high school experiences, likening it all to a roller coaster ride, with many ups, downs and "loop-de-loops" along the way.

Lipshultz said when the ride flattened out at times, she herself added a few twists to make it all fun again. In life, she told her classmates, they each get to design their own track and make it whatever kind of adventure they chose.

"Don't forget those that gave you the blue prints for your first ride," Lipshultz said. "I wish you all some epic rides and some classic loop-de-loops along the way."

Holly Julian, the 2012 BHS valedictorian, reflected upon their joint educational journey, which, she noted, actually began in the last century. Back then, the year 2012 seemed such a long way off, she said. Julian noted that together, they had spent thousands of hours in school — although, she joked, classmate Matt Perry may have spent more than most in his personal quest for knowledge. Julian said it was the positive attitude, one that was always exhibited by her class, which brought them successfully to the end of their high school years together. No matter who was friends with whom or what they each did in school throughout the years, graduation day reunited them all.

"Wearing these robes, we shed the labels we carried up until today. We are now Team Belmont- Mission Accomplished. My wish is that we carry our potential onward," said Julian.

Class president Olivia Kotusky urged the graduates to exhibit "mental toughness" in all they do. She thanked BHS girls' soccer coach Amy Dutton for leading by example in remaining tough through all adversity, and for showing her how to make herself mentally tough, as well. Kotusky said her classmates should find someone in their lives like Dutton to support them and help them prepare for any challenges that lie ahead.

"I always have her (Dutton) on my mind when I am presented with a challenge," Kotusky said. "Wherever you go, go with mental toughness because it is what your own 'Coach Dutton' would want you to do."

This year's keynote address was presented by math teacher John Goegel, who said just ten days earlier, he had been preparing to "slide into summer" when he was presented the unexpected honor of speaking to the class one final time.

He advised the graduates on what he felt were the essential elements to success. They should maintain the courage to do what is right, have heroes to look up to, and to remain optimistic, generous and enthusiastic in all they do.

"Be humble, have a vision and believe in it uncompromisingly. Be prepared to fight for it," Goegel said.

Three remaining awards were also handed out during the ceremonies.

The Reverend Fitzpatrick Memorial Award is given each year to a graduate who has shown outstanding qualities in citizenship, is dependable, loyal, and exhibits leadership and patriotism. This year's recipient was Cawlin Clough.

The Kenneth B. Muzzey Award honors Belmont High School's first and only graduate from the Class of 1924. It has been presented annually since 1984 to a graduating senior who displays outstanding service to the community through citizenship and spirit. Adlai Gordon was presented with the award for 2012.

Finally, the Roland S. Kimball Award, the most prestigious award the district holds, is presented to the person deemed the best all around student, based on "scholarship, dependability, and participation in activities for the betterment of the school." Vice Principal Dan Clary proudly handed the trophy this year to Kimberly Allen.

More than half of this year's graduates of BHS walked off the stage with distinguishments, from honors and high honors recognition to various National Honor societies and New Hampshire State Scholars memberships.

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