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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Souhegan graduates ‘left our impact’ on school

AMHERST – Alternately playful and sentimental and occasionally raucous, the 204 seniors of the Souhegan High School Class of 2014 graduated Friday evening in the gymnasium as an overflow crowd watched on a big screen in the school theater.

Jennifer Brisebois, a master of ceremonies, told her classmates – many of whom have been together since kindergarten – that they would depart for the first time and the last time Friday night. ...

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AMHERST – Alternately playful and sentimental and occasionally raucous, the 204 seniors of the Souhegan High School Class of 2014 graduated Friday evening in the gymnasium as an overflow crowd watched on a big screen in the school theater.

Jennifer Brisebois, a master of ceremonies, told her classmates – many of whom have been together since kindergarten – that they would depart for the first time and the last time Friday night.

“No doubt we’ll conquer great things,” she said. “No doubt we’ve left our impact on this school.”

Her fellow emcee, Casey Foulks, told the crowd that at the beginning of the school year, he thought he’d be the one to say, “I’m out of here,” but now, “I kind of wish we could keep going a little bit.”

Salutatorian Tina Huang thanked the faculty, her family and friends and said, “We’re ready to spread our wings and accumulate student debt.

“We worked our butts off, and also learned values – of respect, trust and courage – that will stay with us.”

Huang complimented her fellow students on their diverse abilities.

“Every day I find myself surprised … by athletes, musicians, passionate activists. … There are so many incredible people.”

In his principal’s message, Rob Scully talked abut his grandfather, who he considered the smartest and nicest person he ever knew and who liked to say as he was tinkering around the house – “Not bad for someone who never graduated from high school” – which made the young Rob think graduating from high school was a wonderful thing.

Then he switched to a playful mode and said, “Let’s take a selfie,” which he did, calling it “a legacy of your generation.”

“We hope you felt challenged, loved and supported while you were here,” he told the seniors.

Kerri Warecki gave the faculty address, and it won her a standing ovation from the seniors after she advised them to “love yourselves. … Say, ‘I don’t know,’ when you don’t know something. … Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you … and always be in the moment.”

Valedictorian Andrew Prescott remembered how he cried on his first day of kindergarten.

“Look how far I’ve come,” he said, and talked about happiness as being the true definition of success.

“You only get one life. Happiness is the key to success, success is not the key to happiness,” he said, and called his biggest achievement the giant pirate ship he helped make as part of Fang Fest, not graduating at the top of his class.

His classmates rewarded him with a standing ovation.

The final speaker was School Board Chairwoman Mary Lou Mullins, who told the seniors that the school will always be their home no matter where they go. Then she helped Superintendent of Schools Peter Warburton and Peter Gagnon, dean of students, hand out diplomas.

Foulks had the last words, leading his peers in huge loud shout-outs for Souhegan and for their families, friends and future plans.

Between speeches, the Souhegan High School concert band played “La Madre de los Gatos” and the concert choir sang “This is the Moment.”

Six seniors – Charity Nett, Olivia Cunis, Trysten Bewersdorf, Taylor Ellis, Timot Saunders and Victoria Chistolini – sang solos from “Keep Holding On.”