‘Be Scared of Giving up’ Campbell High Graduates about to ‘Create a New List of Firsts’

June 26, 2015

by Marisa Ratte

Family, friends, and most importantly, the 2015 graduating class of Campbell High School, were finally graced with beautiful weather on Friday, June 19.  After three consecutive years of rain, the sun shone over the stage and array of chairs, which held hundreds of proud family members and friends gathered to watch the seniors accept their high school diplomas.

Everyone rose to watch the 110 Campbell graduates march, two by two, in black and red, through the front doors as a class one last time.  The procession was immediately followed by the pledge of allegiance, led by Class Vice President Jon Donaghey, which was then followed by the “Star-Spangled Banner” sung by graduate Adam Champagne.

Class Secretary Connar Quigley then welcomed his class, as well as all in attendance, before asking his fellow seniors to deliver a carnation to the person they felt helped them the most throughout their high school career.  Graduate Megan Lacasse greeted her twin sisters, Emma and Olivia, 8, with a hug and presented them with the flower.

Graduate Sarah Nolan then thanked faculty member Chester Orban for serving his final year before retirement with their class, and awarded him the yearbook dedication.  In return, Orban expressed his gratitude to the graduating class, acknowledging their hard work and success, remembering the bonds created and reminiscing on the memories made before ending his speech with, “may the force be with you.”

By running through his typical day at CHS, Class Essayist Griffin Kmon was able to capture the essence of Campbell High.  By recalling all the little daily quirks, from “Skinny Monday” to “Chicken Patty Tuesday” he realized that these once seemingly trite occurrences will now be greatly missed.  Kmon even managed to work in the words of Beyonce, and truly entertained his class as he had the whole crowd laughing, livening the mood on what was a bittersweet day for many.

Campbell’s Salutatorian, Chris Beaureguard, then took the stage.  Reminding his classmates of the legacy they have left there, and taking pride in the fact that they will forever bleed black and red.

After recollecting on the past four years, appreciating all that Campbell High has to offer, and truly recognizing the growth and mark that the Class of 2015 has made, Student Council Co-Presidents Shelb Chacos and Samantha Fletcher introduced the guest speaker, Derek Barka, by focusing on the time given and impact he has made upon the community. Barka of Litchfield works as director of client services for SilverTech, a digital marketing agency based in Manchester.

Barka began his speech by admitting the terror that he was overcome by when first being asked to speak at graduation.  But this only proved his next words, that, “everyone is scared.”  Whether it be the fear of graduating, getting a job, or starting a family, Barka explained how it is normal to have fears.  He then stated that it is how you deal with these fears that dictate the person you become, and shape who you are.  Barka gave the advice, “Do not be scared of making mistakes, do be scared of giving up.”  This was then followed by his own story of how he managed to work his way up in a company that he made achievable through creating his own opportunities and by expanding his network.  He also encouraged the class to go outside of their comfort zone, explaining that, “life is about putting yourself out there,” before leaving them with one final piece of advice.  He asked them to remember that, “luck is preparing yourself so that when an opportunity presents itself you can take advantage of it.”

Valedictorian Amy Bosteels then followed with her speech.  By comparing life to a book, she was able to capture the questions that everyone asks throughout life:  who, what, when, where, and why.  Bosteels explained how we grow up asking why, only to then ask when, until we are faced with the everlasting who.  “Who will we be?” she asked, “and where are we going?”  She encouraged her class to continue in writing the rest of their story, to begin another chapter of their life as they end one together.  Bosteels’ parts with a closing remark, telling her class, “I cannot wait to see who you are.”

It was at this time that the presentation of diplomas began.  Led by Principal Laurie Rothhaus, Assistant Principal Michael Perez, and CHS 2003 alumnus and social studies teacher Nathan Cooper, the graduates took the stage one by one.  Family and friends clustered toward the front and cheered for their respective grads

The senior crowd erupted in applause, and silly string, as the final graduate strode off stage to be replaced by Senior Class President Connor Cote who began the final farewell speech.  Cote addressed his class with ease; feeling very comfortable stating that it is time for the real world to start.  Admitting that he wasn’t sure if he was ready to leave Campbell yet, he began to touch upon the hard “lasts” that accompany senior year.  Yet, he was quick to remind his class that they are about to “create a new list of firsts.”  Then, with eyes fixed upon the front doors of Campbell High, Cote simply stated, “let’s go home guys.”