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Academy for Science and Design graduates 41

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI The Academy for Science and Design graduated 41 seniors Friday, 97% of whom are New Hampshire Scholars.

NASHUA – The Academy for Science and Design graduated 41 seniors Friday night at Nashua Community College.

Recently chosen by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards committee as the top New Hampshire secondary school, the STEM-specialty school saw all 41 of its seniors qualify to be New Hampshire Scholars as well.

New Hampshire Scholars complete a specific set of rigorous courses through their four years of high school, while 97% of the class also received an additional STEM, STEAM and/ or arts commendation.

The ceremony did not include a valedictorian or a salutatorian – the school does not choose to rank its students. Instead, they allow the students who want to talk to submit an essay, and faculty vote on the top two students to speak. Those students were Christopher Couto and Jhansi Raja.

Christopher Couto joked during his speech that it would not include the definition of a graduate. He said he wouldn’t be offering any life advice either, noting that as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, there’s only so much he can add.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design students, from left, Christopher Couto and Ian Coolidge celebrate after being recognized as two of 7,500 National Merit Scholarship Program finalists.

Instead he reflected on the Academy for Science and Design and its success.

“ASD has succeeded in every imaginable way,” Couto said.

Jhansi Raja reflected on when she first came to the school seven years ago.

“We are standing here today because we have grown from those kids with the wide, nervous eyes, to adults with wide eyes ready to gaze upon a future filled with new people and adventures.”

Academy for Science and Design Director Jennifer Cava gave each student a small stuffed animal elephant during her speech.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design Coordinator of Marketing and Communications Amy Bewley presents student Jhansi Raja with an award during the Friday graduation ceremony.

“Not only will this little guy keep you company while you’re at school, it was given to remind you a couple of things,” Cava said.

She added, “You know that elephants are highly intelligent creatures like you. You know that they say an elephant never forgets. It’s said they are able to recognize and keep track of about 40 of their companions, their herd…Well, members of the class of 2019, keep track of your herd and never forget your way back to ASD because this is also always your home.”

Academy for Science and Design

Nashua’s Academy for Science and Design graduated 41 members of the class of 2019 on Friday.

The school did not recognize a valedictorian or a salutatorian.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design Board of Trustees Chair Peter Bewley presents Christopher Couto with his diploma during the Friday graduation ceremony. Couto was one of 41 students graduating this year.

Awards and honors follow:

National Merit Scholarship Program

Six students were recognized with a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition with a pool of 1.6 million students. Only 50,000 students receive a score that qualifies them as commended students. These students were:

• Olivia Bennett

• Nicholas Couto

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design Board of Trustees Chair Peter Bewley presents Sam Crooker with his diploma during the Friday graduation ceremony. Crooker was one of 41 students graduating this year.

• Evan Loconto

• Laurel Nelson

• Wesley Newsam

• Nathan Yeung

An additional 7,500 qualified as finalists for the program, including two ASD students:

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design Director Jennifer Cava hugs one of her graduating students during the Friday graduation ceremony.

• Christopher Couto

• Ian Coolidge

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design students move their tassels on Friday to signify they are now graduates.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design senior Jhansi Raja addresses her classmates during the school’s Friday graduation ceremony.

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Academy for Science and Design Director Jennifer Cava addresses her students during the Friday graduation ceremony.