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Friday, June 14, 2013

Alvirne seniors recalled for ‘hard work, determination and perseverance’ at graduation

The physical similarities between this year’s Alvirne High School valedictorian and salutatorian are striking, even to the point few beyond family and closest of friends can distinguish one from the other.

There’s good reason for that: Tara and Heather Hardy, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, are identical twins. And the fact they ended up at the top of their class is far from a coincidence, according to AHS music director Gerry Bastien, whose amusing video introducing the twins was capped with Bastien’s own custom rendition of the Doublemint chewing gum jingle. ...

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The physical similarities between this year’s Alvirne High School valedictorian and salutatorian are striking, even to the point few beyond family and closest of friends can distinguish one from the other.

There’s good reason for that: Tara and Heather Hardy, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, are identical twins. And the fact they ended up at the top of their class is far from a coincidence, according to AHS music director Gerry Bastien, whose amusing video introducing the twins was capped with Bastien’s own custom rendition of the Doublemint chewing gum jingle.

The Hardys were two of 331 Alvirne High seniors presented diplomas Thursday night at The Verizon Wireless Center, a ceremony whose participants blended poignant thoughts and advice and lighter memories and circumstances before a full house of parents, families friends and others.

“This is a time of change. No parents to wake you up in the morning. And its a change for parents whose children will now be away at college or in the military,” Alvirne principal Steve Beals told the graduates and guests.

“My advice to all of you as you transition is to embrace change, rather than resist it,” Beals continued. “While change is not always good, creating a mindset and a willingness to accept new ideas and move forward confidently” is the path one must choose.

Beals took a minute to compliment his seniors for their behavior on the recent senior class trip, a cruise around Boston Harbor.

“The chaperones kept hearing how respectful, how well-behaved everyone was that night,” he said, glancing around the arena at more than a few wide parental smiles.

But the highlight of the cruise, Beals added with a grin, was a question an unnamed senior asked a crew member, “What lake are we on?”

“I think, he said, ‘Lake Winnipesaukee,’ ” Beals added to laughter.

Hudson memorial Middle School principal Susan Nadeau was asked to introduce class president Jenna Marie Giannelli, a young woman whom Nadeau praised for pushing through personal challenges to become a “role model to all students.”

“You demonstrated the hard work, determination and perseverance that are all keys to success,” Nadeau said. To the audience, Nadeau recalled how she and Giannelli often talked about Giannelli’s goal – entering Emerson College to major in communications and play her favorite sport: softball.

Giannelli, taken a bit aback at the praise, began by thanking Nadeau for “always encouraging me to keep pushing, to keep working hard … and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Giannelli likened school life to the passage of time, and that “it sounds silly. Yet, we still question on a daily basis ‘how will i know how much time is left’ ” she said.

“I don’t know about you all, but right now, time scares me … with each tick of the clock we get one step closer to branching off on 331 different paths, some thousands of miles away from others,” Giannelli said.

Graduation was “one more night together,” she continued, urging her fellow graduates to “be ready to tackle your next endeavors … don’t let a second, a minute or hour pass you by, because you never know what the end of the day has in store for you.”

The Hardy twins, meanwhile, had some fun with the audience, standing shoulder to shoulder for a mirror-image appearance and, on cue, beginning two totally different speeches at the same time.

Who should go first – the valedictorian or the older twin – kept the laughs going. They listed some of their favorite “twin-related” comments, including the clincher: “How do you two remember who’s which?”

“Whoever said there’s no such thing as a stupid question was lying,” Heather Hardy quipped.

They grew more philosophical as time went on, alternating turns at the microphone. “We’re attending the same school not because we’re insecure, but rather because of the confidence we each have in ourselves,” Tara Hardy said, referring to their enrollment at New York University in the fall. “Part of growing up means realizing the difference between the two.”

“So we challenge you, or fellow graduates, that ultimately your identity may change, but what you experienced in your high school years will always be part of you,” Heather Hardy said. “You’ll always be an Alvirne High graduate.”

Together, they added, “And most importantly, all of us will always be Broncos.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).