It was all thumbs up for members of Plymouth Regional High School's Class of 2018 as they waited to walk into the All Well North Center at Plymouth State University for their gradation ceremony last Saturday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 06, 2018PLYMOUTH — On Saturday, June 2, the 152 members of Plymouth Regional High School's Class of 2018 were lauded for their accomplishments and challenged to go out into the world with new goals and to strive to achieve them.
"I can't help but wonder what this class will achieve," said Class Vice President Abigail Sutcliffe as she asked he fellow students to "strip away the training wheels" and head off into the world.
Liam Crowley of Ashland was awarded Third Honors at this year's graduation, and recognized the efforts that parents, teachers and administrators put forth to facilitate their accomplishments in high school while adding that, like high school, "the next years will pass us by before too long but the efforts we now put forth will be worth it." The rewards of the future, he concluded, won't be handed out, though; they will have to be earned. Crowley will be headed to Tufts University in the fall where he will major in biology.
Salutatorian Eleanor Knight of Waterville Valley will be off to Chapman University in Orange, Calif.., next year, where she will major in Film Production. As she finished out her final hour at PRHS however, she emphasized the fact that the Class of 2018 made it through high school by sticking together.
"Together, we built a community that worked together…together, we will walk off the stage today to begin the next chapter of our lives…together, we have set goals and will work for them," she said. "Maybe you haven't found your passion yet, but try something different every day until you do."
She encouraged her fellow classmates to set a goal that day and work toward it.
As the Valedictorian of the Class of 2018, Benjamin Fort, who among his many scholastic accomplishments also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, also spoke of achievements and goals for the future. He began his speech with light hearted comments about the trials and tribulations of his freshman year at PRHS when he couldn't open his locker and got lost heading off to his first class, but went on to say now is the time to leave those troubles behind.
"Challenge yourselves. Set your goals high but realize they may need some tweaking along the way," said Fort. "This is your journey; you design it. Graduation is not your end goal. It is the first start on your journey."
Fort will now begin his journey as a student of chemistry at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut in September.
This year's Commencement Address was presented by Ross Deachman, who is not only a noted local attorney, but one of the founding members of Pemi-Baker School District, a nearly 30-year member of the school board, and a past participant in the state education system.
Deachman told the class that graduation day was a "watershed moment" in their lives and encouraged them to remember the teachers, administrators and all who helped move them forward in their education. As adults, he also urged them to keep those people in mind as they become a part of the towns they will live in by being responsible voters and community partners, supporting schools their children, nieces and nephews will one day attend.
"You are graduates of an outstanding school and staff. Pay it back by finding more like them," said Deachman.
Principal Bruce Parsons told parents that it had truly been a pleasure to watch their children grow to become young adults. He thanked the graduates for their enthusiasm, spirit kindness, and for being such wonderful models for the rest of the school community.
Musical presentations for the commencement ceremony were led by band and choral director William Gunn. "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" was the choral selection with senior Margaret Gocha as the featured soloist. The concert band also performed "Pirates of the Caribbean" before diplomas were presented and the journey into the future began for the graduates from Ashland, Campton, Dorchester, Holderness, Ellsworth, Plymouth, Rumney, Thornton, Waterville Valley and Wentworth.