Don’t Stop Believin’ – Alvirne Class of 2018
June 22, 2018
by Laurie Jasper
Alvirne High School’s 68th Commencement took place at Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester on Flag Day, June 14. Alvirne’s Class of 2018 entered in their maroon caps and gowns as the Alvirne Band performed “Pomp and Circumstance.” The Pledge of Allegiance was led by military-bound graduating seniors.
Dean of Academics Susan Bureau welcomed the audience and introduced those on the stage, including members of both the district and high school administrations. Unlike years’ past, the four members of the school board in attendance, Chairman Malcolm Price, Patty Langlais, Lee Lavoie, and Darcy Orellana were not on stage but seated in chairs on the arena floor.
Salutatorian Hayden Callery said, “I dedicate my final essay as an Alvirne student to the man who gave me a reason to be the person I am today. This, my ‘Why I believe in the Alvirne Class of 2018’ essay, I dedicate to Mr. Crosson.” Sadly, English teacher Matthew Crosson died unexpectedly in December 2017. Callery said Crosson left “… a ripple in my life and the Alvirne community as a whole.” According to Callery, Crosson encouraged and believed in every one of his students. “The reason I believe so much in the class of 2018 and Alvirne High School as a whole is because we simply don’t stop believing,” concluded Callery.
Director of School Counseling William Hughen presented the Chester Steckevicz Award and Scholarship to Sungjeminla Imchen. Steckevicz was the principal of Alvirne from 1957 until his death in 1972; each year the award is given to a graduating senior with a tireless work ethic who is dependable, ambitious and a strong Alvirne supporter.
Adam J. Banatwala gave the valedictory address. Banatwala thanked Callery for pushing him to be the best student he could be, sharing that their grade point averages differed by only .01 of a percentage point. “All of us, the entire class of 2018, can do great things in the world, and I hope we do. Guys, don’t peak in high school,” Banatwala said.
The B-Naturals, comprised of graduating seniors and underclassmen, performed “From Now On” from the 2017 movie-musical “The Greatest Showman,” including the lyrics, “What’s waited for tomorrow starts tonight, it starts tonight, and let this promise in me start, like an anthem in my heart.”
Next, it was Class President Cassandra Shelley’s turn to address the audience, sharing that she Googled, “How to write a great graduation speech,” for her inspiration.
Alvirne Principal Steve Beals, whose daughter Emma was among the graduates, told the class of 2018 he recalled meeting some of them in kindergarten and that he is proud of all of their individual and collective efforts. Advice Beals shared: “Your health is the most important thing. Don’t take it for granted,” “You’re not invincible to risky behavior,” and “Reduce you cell phone usage and social media and try talking directly to one another.” In a nod to country singer Tim McGraw’s song of the same name, Beals encouraged the students to “always stay humble and kind.”
School Board Chairman Malcolm Price had the honor of distributing the diplomas as Beals handed each graduate a surprise gift to be used at the conclusion of the program.
Principal Beals presented special awards to Jeremy Bistany and Eric Emeneau for four years of perfect attendance at Alvirne. It was then time for the “Beals’ Bell” to ring to allow the Class of 2018 to recognize parents, teachers and others. Beals celebrated the memory of Nicole Jacques, who passed away in 2014 and who was a classmate of the class of 2018, noting a chair for Nicole was left vacant in her honor. Beals also recognized the loss of English teacher Matt Crosson and one of Crosson’s beliefs, “It’s okay to be a little bit awkward, but always be cool,” which cued the graduates to don their surprise gift – Bronco Nation sunglasses – and dance to the classic Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The members of Alvirne’s Class of 2018 are now officially Alvirne alumni.