Nashua summer school graduates 29

Michael McQuilkin, Summer School Principal, praises students for their resilience.

NASHUA – The word of the evening was “perseverance,” as 29 students, all of whom took different paths in life, crossed the stage Tuesday and received their high school diplomas.

Students from Nashua High School South, Nashua High School North and the Nashua Adult and Community School graduated from the Nashua Summer School program, turned their tassels and joined the class of 2018.

Bryanna Anctil, student speaker and graduate of Nashua South, shared the trials of her own path to graduation, from losing her cousin, transferring schools and having a daughter, Novaleigh.

“If you’ve been knocked down a few times, dust yourself off and try again,” she said. “Do not let anybody in your life look at you and tell you you can’t do something.”

Anctil also addressed other young mothers in the audience.

Graduate Millina Dorneus hugs Michael McQuilkin, summer school principal, after receiving her diploma.

“You are not a statistic,” she told them. “You’re doing an amazing job, and remember we can do anything we set our minds to.”

Standing on the stage in her cap and gown, Anctil told her fellow graduates to be proud of themselves.

“You’re worthy. You’re wanted. You’re here for a reason,” she said.

Michael McQuilkin, summer school principal, said the entire class demonstrated resilience in completing the milestone, many having been “knocked down by life” only to get back up again.

Nashua School District Superintendent Jahmal Mosley thanked the graduates for their hard work, addressing how difficult it is to come to school during the summer. He himself went to summer school after his freshman year, as result of failing algebra “with flying colors.”

Nashua School District Superintendent Jahmal Mosley shares his own experiences with summer school.

They were very disciplined, he said, to keep coming back every day.

Each of the 29 students recognized that there would be no diploma, no tassle to turn, without some kind of support system. So, as part of a new summer school graduation tradition, each person took a rose from under his/her seat and presented it to the person who had supported them the most. Hugs and tears abounded.

Millina Dorneus, a South graduate, dedicated her rose to her mother, as well as her aunt Carleen Wilson, who she recently lost to pancreatic cancer.

Excited to have graduated, Dorneus said after the ceremony that she plans to go to Nashua Community College and hopes to one day become a dermatologist.

She, along with Anctil and the other 27 alumni, have and will have, as Mosley pointed out in his remarks, a place to call home in the city of Nashua.

Graduate Bryanna Anctil, crossing the stage with her daughter Novaleigh, shakes hands with Donna Fitzpatrick, assistant superintendent.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire Bryanna Anctil, class speaker, told fellow classmates not to let anyone tell them they could not do something.