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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dream come true for Merrimack High School seniors

‘Livin’ the Dream” was the motto for the members of the Merrimack High School Class of 2013, and that’s just what they did on Saturday.

The 312 seniors graduated in front of hundreds of family and friends, leaving behind what Principal Kenneth Johnson deemed for all to be “My Home Sometimes,” as alternative meaning behind the MHS initials. ...

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‘Livin’ the Dream” was the motto for the members of the Merrimack High School Class of 2013, and that’s just what they did on Saturday.

The 312 seniors graduated in front of hundreds of family and friends, leaving behind what Principal Kenneth Johnson deemed for all to be “My Home Sometimes,” as alternative meaning behind the MHS initials.

“When you think about it, as a teen, you spent many of your waking hours right here at MHS,” Johnson said. “So in some ways, your school has become your home away from home, a place where memories were created and shared, a place where over time you became a family and, in fact, a small community.”

The school “is a special place where you will be most remembered by the wonderful, silly or serious things you or we have done.”

Class President Kate Cole’s speech reflected the strong sense of community highlighted by Johnson. Rather than focusing on her own high school experience, Cole mentioned numerous members of the class and their plans for the coming years, showing numerous connections among students traveling to similar colleges or career paths.

“There are many different and original personalities that make us a one-of-a-kind class,” Cole said. “Put together, we have managed to accomplish a lot over the past four years.

“I’ve heard that life starts after high school, but in the case of our class, ‘livin’ the dream’ will just continue on.”

Johnson also mentioned how the class’s accomplishments defined MHS and how the class will be remembered.

“Each of you has a story to tell,” Johnson said. “You made MHS, our home, a better place.”

Valedictorian Jonathan Appert recalled his own story from his kindergarten graduation to his high school graduation. Looking hopefully toward the future, Appert urged his fellow graduates not to fear what’s yet to come, but to “live for today” and to “strive to be happy.”

“We can move forward with our lives, enjoying today even if it is different from our memories,” Appert said.

“We choose to think of today as another day that fails to bring us the happiness of yesterday, or we can think of it as another chance as the best day of our lives.

“We choose to think of the future as a gigantic question mark looming over us, threatening to change everything that we know, or we can choose to have the adventurous optimism of a 6-year-old graduating kindergarten, who’s excited to face every new day.”

Appert said that, like his kindergarten graduation, he was making a speech that would surely bring tears to his proud mother’s eyes. Unlike his current speech, however, he didn’t remember the words he once addressed to his much younger class and claimed that they did not, in fact, matter as much as the memories of his time in school.

“All I remember is that, after I finished and stepped back with my fellow graduates, I saw my parents,” Appert said. “My mom looked disappointed, and I thought she was angry at me for playing with the tassels on my mortarboard. As it turns out, she hardly knew I could read, let alone read to an entire audience. She was crying because she was proud of me, and I can guarantee you she’s crying right now.”

The graduates received their diplomas from the familiar faces of their principal and assistant principals, Peter Bergeron and Richard Zampieri, releasing them on to their next step in life, but knowing they could return to the familiar faces at what has been their home away from home for the last four years.

“While it has been said that you can’t go home again,” Johnson said, “I want you to know that here, at MHS, you are always welcome – after 2:15, of course.”

Jennifer Janiak can be reached at 594-6549 or jjaniak@nash uatelegraph.com.