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 firstname.lastname@example.org.