Alvirne High School Sends off Class of 2014 to Begin their Next Adventure

June 20, 2014

by Tom Tollefson

Maroon and gold colors flooded the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Thursday, June 12, as the 330 Alvirne High School graduates concluded their journey as the Class of 2014.

“Graduation is always a wonderful night.  It brings families and the community together.  It’s a great celebration,” said Hudson Superintendent Brian Lane.

According to Class President Gurbir Kalsi’s speech, the metaphoric colors of the graduates’ individual personalities and talents blended together to make a brightly colored painting for their futures as they did during their time at Alvirne as well.

“We began with a black canvas.  It being empty, the canvas represented our curiosity to discover the many possibilities at Alvirne.  As we transitioned through freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year we filled the canvas with a beautiful painting,” Grebier said.

According to Kalsi, the graduates’ high school years were rooted in self discovery as they learned more about themselves and the world.

“By the time we discovered ourselves, we created a painting that represents our achievements and our ambitions, reflects our outstanding growth, and symbolizes the class of 2014 and we did this together all for one and one for all,” Kalsi said.

Kalsi also reminded his classmates that they did not get to graduation alone and had many others who had helped them along the way.

“Who can forget the teacher that helped you find the agricultural wing or the guidance counselor who helped you map out your four-year plan?  Class of 2014, we have a great deal to be proud of, however we must remember that every great artist has a great mentor.  We’ve been challenged and inspired by our thought-provoking teachers, encouraged and guided by our counselors, and supported and loved by our family members,” he said.

While Kalsi used a metaphor to highlight self discovery, Class Valedictorian Christina Guessferd’s speech focused on enjoying all the details involved in self discovery and journey through high school.

“Growing up, kids almost always can’t wait to get to the next milestone and to feel some sense of autonomy.  We would count down the days until we could get our license, watch an R rated movie, vote, and then graduate from high school.  In the process we often forgot to embrace those precious moments, those that aren’t that exciting.  We were so busy waiting for the next chapter in our lives that we fail to appreciate our moms making pancakes in the morning or our dads teaching us how to throw a football,” Guessferd said.

She also discussed how very different life is as you grow up from what you imagined it would be during your childhood.

“As a kid we have this romanticized version of what our life will be.  We imagined that our first love will be like a Disney fairy tale, that our high school years will be just like Lizzy McGuire’s, and that we will grow old with our friends from elementary school.  You never thought you’d have to pull an all-nighter to finish in order to finish a project only to fail the test.  And you never thought you would become strangers or even enemies with someone who was once your best friend.  You never thought you’d have to ice your arm for hours on end after a demanding pitching session.  You never imagined that you would grow up and have to face the struggle of coming out or having a baby at 17.  And you never thought you’d have to spend some nights sleeping in your car.  But some of these struggles became indescribable joys.  Because you spent all night studying for that final you aced it and because you spent those hours on the baseball mound perfecting your knuckle ball you are now on a fast track to the MLB.”

Salutation Brittney Lambert focused her speech on the choices that the graduates have made already along this journey so far and the ones they will make in the future.  She didn’t make many choices of her own being in the house of 10 children.  No choices with dinner or clothing options, which were often a combination of hand me downs and whatever her mom picked out.

“I can thank my siblings for choosing by default where I sat at the dinner table and what time I would shower in the morning.  I never had to worry about what time to set my alarm for, because we had a shower line like you read about,” Lambert said.

She also acknowledged the importance that caring adults have made in the graduates’ lives as they helped them make key decisions.

“For the past 18 years of our lives we have made a very limited number of choices and each one that we have made was scrutinized by our parents, teachers, school administrators, and really every adult in our lives.  But they did that because they cared about us.  They were standing over our shoulders making sure that we made the right decisions to keep us on a good path.  They wanted what was best for us.  What these adults didn’t realize is that beyond the gum, the bathroom passes, and what we ate for dinner, they have made us who we are today,” Lambert said.

She concluded the speech by stating to her classmates that now is the time for them all to begin taking control of their lives by making their own decisions that will affect their futures.

All three student speeches were enjoyed by many of the friends and family sitting in the crowd.

“All three were good speakers.  They had unique fashions of presentations and were confident,” said Derek Raitt, a 2010 Alvirne graduate, who was present to watch his brother Brenden Raitt graduate this year.

Alvirne Principal Steven Beals also spoke about family and adults in the graduates’ lives.  He reminded students to thank those who helped them get to graduation and remember to above all else be good citizens.

“Please make sure that your family knows they matter before you transition to your next phase of life,” Beals advised.

Family was a special significance to Beals as he saw his own son, Ethan Beals, graduate in the class of 2014.

“Thought I expected my emotion to run over with my son, it did not.  He and I remained poised as he was one of 330 graduates, but my embrace with him was different.  I am very proud of the person he is more than the student he is.  We all want well for our kids and I am no different.  I am expecting a nice Father’s Day present from Ethan.  Signing his diploma was the best!” Beals said.

Beals also took time at the end of the commencement to lead the seniors in one last school spirit chant.

“I’ve been to three graduations for Alvirne High School and this is the best one,” said Kathy Carpentier, mother of Ashley Carpentier.  “I liked the victory song and the bell that Mr. Beals rang.”

Beals added a personalized touch by walking through the crowd of graduates and stopping to pose with them for “selfies” (term commonly used for self taken digital pictures photographed with electronic devices).

“The graduation was special to me because of my emotional connection to many of the graduates.  Whether through church, school, or youth sports, I have known many since before their elementary school days,” he said.

The graduation left many new graduates with overwhelmingly positive feelings of joy and accomplishment.

“It feels amazing.  It’s a unique experience and a feeling you get only once in a lifetime,” said Mike Infantino, who is going to Quinnipiac University to major in biomedical science.