REGION – Southern Vermont has celebrated the graduating classes of the six regional high schools: Bellows Falls, Black River, Fall Mountain, Green Mountain, Leland & Gray, and Springfield high schools.
Bellows Falls Union High School
BFUHS celebrated 63 graduating students at a traditional graduation, where the choir performed “Sweet Caroline,” with audience participation, and the band performed George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Valedictorian Zoe Schemm reflected on four years of high school, and salutatorian Hannah Harlow acknowledged the accomplishments of their class, which was small but “mighty.” Other class speakers included Ethan Lauricella, Reaghan Baldasaro, Faith Byfield, and Sarah Scarlett. Other honors students included Abigail Jones, Danielle Marchica, Nicholas Potter, Katherine Wilkinson, and Kalvin Wyman.
Black River High School
Black River celebrated 10 graduates, with Valedictorian Jordyn Demers recounting their experiences as a class, the struggles they’ve been through, and their strength and resilience. Co-salutatorians Dakota Pachla and Morgan Brown thanked everyone for their support and recognized that they’ll have students spread across seven states: Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois.
Guest speaker Colin Andrzejczyk spoke about risk and opportunity, and about the value of playing together and about having serious conversations and deep, trusting connections with each other. He hopes that the graduates will find success without greed, happiness in their work and life, and value in their limited time on Earth.
Fall Mountain Regional High School
Fall Mountain celebrated 140 students, including one that couldn’t be there. Daniel Underhill passed away in a fire at his home in February. His older brother accepted his diploma, and the gift of the Class of 2018 was a commemorative bench to honor Daniel and everything he stood for. His family appreciates the support of the class and the community.
Valedictorian Chelsey Patch spoke of the values she thought the class would need to succeed, working with a friend to construct a puzzle with a piece for each of the values to reveal a wildcat, the school’s mascot, in a graduation cap. Salutatorian Lily Westney Stevens used a metaphor between a parachute and the power and grace of an open mind. The guest speaker, teacher and coach Russell Pickering, encouraged the students to rediscover their childhood sense of wonder and awe wherever they go. “So if you are looking for rainbows, and you really want a sense of awe,” Pickering said, “I dare you to find one.”
Green Mountain Union High School
GMUHS celebrated 61 graduates, including Valedictorian Noelle Gignoux, who thanked everyone for helping in every aspect of their lives, and encouraged her fellow graduates to succeed, be honest, think big, fight for the underdogs, help others, and always give the world the best you have. Salutatorian Sadie Wood, who recounted her school experiences and marveled at the importance of being ready for the unexpected turns in life. Guest speaker Theresa Buskey recounted memories and personally acknowledged everyone. She encouraged them to stand up for what they believe in and to never let life get the best of them.
Leland & Gray Union High School
Leland & Gray celebrated 50 graduating students, who were nervous but excited the morning of graduation. Valedictorian Rachel Sorrell and salutatorian Karson Petty, with over two dozen of their classmates, received scholarships to help them along the way, as they pursue careers in dental hygiene, criminal justice, sports management, physical therapy, and emergency medicine, among others. Guest speaker and English teacher, Amanda DeBisschop, encouraged the graduates to be brave in the face of challenges, fight to reach their full potential, and continue to think for themselves as they chase their dreams.
Springfield High School
SHS celebrated 88 graduates, many of whom will serve our country in the military. Keynote speaker, Kevin Anderson, spoke about fond memories, the past and the future, and the importance in making a difference in the lives of others and leave their legacy, whether big or small, in their family, community, and country. Student speaker Samantha Mirra thanked everyone for their help and patience, and recounted fond memories of their class. She encouraged everyone to follow their dreams and strive to reach their full potential.
Class President Theophilus Avent presented the gift of the Class of 2018, a sum of money dedicated to cleaning out cluttered spaces in the high school to repurpose them for students in the future. A new mural was dedicated to the school and the Cosmopolitan team spirit.
The community has seen hundreds of graduates into the next chapter of their lives, where they will pursue their dreams with bright eyes, open minds, and big hearts. Good luck and congratulations to the Class of 2018!