Souhegan Class of 2016 graduates

AMHERST – The Souhe­gan High School Class of 2016 has a lot to be grate­ful for, but winter wasn’t among them.

"Where was the snow?" salutatorian Abigail Schulte asked during her graduation speech on Fri­day, June 10. "We were de­nied a decent number of snow days."

Continuing that theme, the school band later played "Sleigh Ride," withmany of the band mem­bers wearing Santa caps.

That spirit of fun, as well as expressions of gratitude, pride and community, continued through the evening cer­emonies.

"Consider your own privilege," Schulte told her peers. "We have been given gifts people in oth­er parts of the world can scarcely imagine."

Valedictorian Emma Naprta talked about how kind her classmates were while she was as going through health problems, including a brain tumor.

Everyone "has been so accepting and comfort­ing," she said, as "I lost my hearing, my balance, my hair."

School Board member Mary Lou Mullins told the graduates that Souhegan produces young adults of the highest caliber, but test scores don’t reflect all that they are, don’t reflect their compassion, open-mindedness and ability to see that privi­leges mean responsibili­ties.

Ryan Lemieux and Katherine Maddock read excerpts from senior proj­ects, in which students said they were the "best and worst part of senior year," that they "taught me to take nothing for granted" and "failure is part of success."

Principal Robert Scul­ly praised the students as gifted and passionate individuals who have reached a "curious cross­road." The same people who forgot to bring pen­cils to final exams are now "ready to solve the global water crisis."

They have also rec­onciled individualism with collectivisim to be­come "possibly the clos­est group we’ve ever had here."

Scully urged the high-achieving students to keep up their enthusi­asm for learning and told the C students, "You, too, can grow up to be a high school principal some­day."

Chris Brooks, who gave the faculty address, used the example of his yellow Labrador retriever taking over his house and fam­ily to explain how people achieve happiness. He urged the grads to add meaning to their lives by reading, keeping an open mind, asking tough ques­tions and trying to be self­less.

The masters of ceremo­nies were Hailey Johnson and Alexander Craven. Carl Benevides directed the band. Kim Whitehead directed the a cappella choir, and Megan Dillon sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Finally, Ibaad Nazeer and Nicholas Truchon di­rected the turning of the tassels.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or