2014 PHS Graduation

June 20, 2014

by Lynne Ober

This year the gray skies bringing a cold rain to the area finally forced Pelham High School Principal Dr. Dorothy Mohr to move graduation inside the high school.  With that move came space limitations as required by the fire code.  Two tickets were given to each senior.

“We’ll just make use of all of our inside space,” smiled Mohr.  “Normally we stage in the gym before marching onto the field.  This year we’ll stage elsewhere in the school and march into the gym.”

As always, Mohr welcomed guests, school board members and soon-to-be graduates.  She paused for a moment and then said, “First, let us pause to remember with fondness one member of this class – Zachary Andrews.  We remember Zach with an empty chair and know that his is showing his famous smile as his friends and classmates celebrate their accomplishments and mark this graduation.”

No one is ever prouder of the graduating students than Mohr.  She knows their names and their accomplishments, and she loves to introduce those accomplishments to the audience.  This year she recognized:

Craig Harden – first in the state on tuba

Members of the Jazz Band who were first in Williamsburg’s Festival of Parks

Members of the Concert Band, who also took first in Williamsburg’s Festival of Parks

Lauren Austin and Natasha Cote – top art portfolios in the New Hampshire Scholastic Art Competition

Mary Hammar and Kaylie Apkarian – National writing awards as representatives of the English Honor Society and the Creative Writing Club.

Nick Lauren, who completed an independent study of computer science and programming leading to a tuition-free master’s program at University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Harley Kearney who scored school records in soccer goals for both the season and his career

Jake Vaiknoras who was state champion in golf and a 1,000 point scorer in basketball

Joe Slattery and Chris Medeiros – CHaD All Star Football players

Julia Barsalou – All Star Volleyball team

Dustin Lubinger – area leading scorer in hockey

Sutton Bradbury for his efforts at the Koster New England Meet of Champions in both indoor and outdoor track.

Hannah Paitchel for 100 career base hits in softball

The Girls Cross Country team as the Meet of Champions team

The undefeated 2013 football team

Nine students who completed five or more college courses while attending PHS.  These students were Sutton Bradbury-Koster, Douglas Carton, Christopher Chao, Austin Croatti, Ryan Frank, Avery Goss, Nicole Lister, Dustin Lubinger, and Julia Newton.

Lisa Yeaton was recognized for completing eight college courses or one full college year while still at PHS.

However, the academic honors didn’t stop there as Mohr asked every student who had completed at least one college course while still and PHS to stand and 72 percent of the class stood to a round of applause.

Eighty-six percent of the graduates plan to go on to secondary education and Mohr’s pride in this class was obvious.  “Have hope, be strong, laugh loud, play hard, live in the moment, smile often, dream big, remember you are loved and never, never give up,” she concluded.

Class Valedictorian, Mary Hammar, began by thanking everyone who helped each graduate reach graduation.  She spoke about all of the good things going on inside Pelham High School and said she was overwhelmed by the number of community service hours that seniors had provided to the community.  She urged her classmates to carry those lessons forward and to remember their responsibilities.  “If we do not honor those responsibilities, we lose a little bit of ourselves.  So often we are so focused on meeting deadlines that we forget to be human beings,” she said as she urged her classmates to succeed, but to remember to have fun.

Emily Lamport, Salutatorian, recalled life as a Pelham student and urged her classmates never to forget those memories.  “After tonight, we will each begin a new journey.”  She wanted her classmates to embrace all the diversity that they would see in the world and to enjoy their new experiences.

Sutton Bradbury-Koster was the graduating class’s president, and his speech drew laughs and appreciation from the audience.  He also welcomed his twin brother, Matt Bradbury-Koster, class vice president, to the stage with him.  “Luckily, we’ve made friendships in the last four years that will last a lifetime.  Unluckily, we’ve posted things on Instagram that will also last a lifetime,” said Sutton.  He urged his classmates to always remember who they are.  Like his twin, Matt also got laughs when he spoke.  “Be true to yourself and people will respect who you are.  You are free to be who you are and will be accepted because of it.”

Class Essayist Nicole Lister said, “We have all decided where we will end up.  Our future is ahead of us and is ready to be sculpted by the choices we will make.  We have the chance to reinvent ourselves.  Let’s go and leave a trail, and not walk the path that so many have before.”

When it was time for the presentation of diplomas, both the graduates and their families had memories of 12 years that seemed to speed by in the blink of an eye.  School Board Chairman Brian Carton presented diplomas before the recessional.