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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Merrimack graduates, Cameron Jameson and Katie Duggan kiss in the gym before walking to the football field Saturday morning to take part in Merrimack High's commencement ceremonies. Jameson and Duggan have been dating for five years, which is a little bit longer than their high school years. Jameson plans to go to Nashua Community College in the fall and hopes to transfer to Keene State for education, while Duggan will go to Rivier College to major in Criminal Justice.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Merrimack High School graduate Heather Gee tries to zip herself inside of her graduation gown to try to stay dry after rain began to fall during the school's commencement ceremony on the football field, Saturday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Kim Guilmette wipes a tear as she watches her daughter Christina walk to Merrimack High School's football field Saturday morning as part of the school's commencement ceremonies.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Susan Ritter waves to her daughter Courtney as she walks to Merrimack High School's football field Saturday morning as part of the school's commencement ceremonies.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Merrimack High School graduate, Cady Hickman hugs Merrimack High School Guidance Counselor, Bryan Young after receiving her diploma Saturday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Balloons spelling out 2010 hang above half of the Merrimack High School graduating class Saturday morning during their commencement ceremony.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Merrimack High School graduate, Brianna Ledoux blows up a beach ball at the start of the school's commencement ceremony on the football field.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Merrimack High School graduate, Jake Palermo is driven to the stage by Andy Krahling Saturday morning so that Palermo could walk with his classmates. Palermo broke his back during a car accident recently limiting his mobility.
  • Correspondent photo by Kathleen Baglio Humphreys

    Luis Ortega dodges raindrops after receiving his high school diploma in Milford on Saturday.
  • Correspondent photo by Kathleen Baglio Humphreys

    Milford High School graduates fresh from coming off the stage from receiving their diplomas won’t let the rain ruin their graduation celebration while senior Lauren Griffin, sporting an umbrella and sunglasses, found a way to stay dry. L-R: Taylor Gosselin, Tyler Gregoire, Lauren Griffin, Nicholas Grigas and Andrew Guthrie.
  • Correspondent photo by Kathleen Baglio Humphreys

    Amy Elizabeth Wilson is all smiles after just receiving her Milford High School diploma followed by Hannah Zelnik, who wrapped up the list of 195 graduates.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Merrimack grads draw on movies for lessons

Live life to the fullest and learn to love every moment, students who delivered the salutatory and valedictory addresses urged their fellow graduates of the Merrimack High School class of 2010 on Saturday morning.

Salutatorian Matthew K. Sexton, who will attend Wheaton College, drew lessons from three animated Disney movies: “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Up.”

“Don’t dwell on what has happened. Don’t dwell on mistakes,” Sexton told the other 351 members of the graduating class during ceremonies held at the football stadium behind Merrimack High School.

“Be true to yourself,” Sexton said, adding, “life itself is an adventure.”

Accept life as it is and learn to love every moment, Princeton-bound valedictorian and class president Ross T. Johnson said.

No one lives a perfect life, Johnson said. He referred to the science fiction novel “Replay,” about a man who gets to repeatedly relive his life, each time with regrets.

No life is perfect, so don’t obsess over mistakes you make, Johnson said.

“Instead of asking ‘what if,’ ask what makes my life great,” he said.

Sounding the theme of perfection, Principal Kenneth Johnson said there is no such thing as a “perfect 10,” not Bo Derek in the movie “10,” not Nadia Comaneci’s performance in the 1976 Olympics – not even a “perfect game” by a baseball pitcher is without flaws.

The class of 2010 isn’t perfect, but the class compiled “perfect 10 moments,” Johnson said, listing some of the class member’s best achievements in athletics and in other activities.

Johnson said graduating senior Ashley C. Barrar told him her perfect moment “was leaving the school thinking, ‘this was all worth it.’”

Though the graduation created perfect moments for students and their families, the weather was far from perfect. The first raindrops began falling during the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates marched into the stadium, and the rain picked up throughout the ceremony, becoming a steady drizzle for most of the morning.

On grass in front of the bleachers, parent Jean-Claude Deslauriers set up his 35mm camera on a tripod to capture the moment 50 yards away when his stepdaughter Jennifer Irizarry would be awarded her diploma. Deslauriers draped his jacket over the camera as he waited for Irizarry’s turn to walk onto the stage. When that moment arrived, other obstacles presented themselves.

“I had big umbrellas open,” Deslauriers said, noting he had to adjust the position of the tripod.

“At least it stopped raining,” he said.

Indeed, there was a break in the rain just about the time Irizarry walked onto the stage, to the hollers and applause of family members – about a dozen were attending and would celebrate Irizarry’s graduation at a gathering today, Deslauriers said.

The commencement ceremonies also included performances of “Black Granite” by the Merrimack High School Concert Band and of “Bring on Tomorrow” by the Merrimack High School Chamber Choir.

In one touching moment, former School Board member Emily Coburn, a longtime member of the board, awarded the diploma to her daughter, Caitlyn E. Coburn.

In welcoming remarks, Kenneth Johnson, the principal, thanked the school’s teachers for their “hard work, commitment to excellence and leadership to our kids.”

The ceremony also included a tribute to teacher Maurice Hache, who died of a heart attack in February.

“He will be most remembered for inspiring our students in the field of rocketry,” Johnson said of Hache, who founded the school’s rocket club.

As a tribute to Hache, the Elton John song “Rocket Man” was played over the commencement speaker system.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.