Pelham High School 2015 Graduates Accept Life’s Next ChallengeJune 19, 2015
by Rhiannon Snide
To avoid construction work interfering with Pelham High School Class of 2015’s graduation ceremony, the event was taken to the Harris Track and Field behind Pelham Elementary for the first time ever. The stage and chairs were set up just as they have been in previous years, but placed in the football field. Parents, friends, and family could sit in chairs on the field or on bleachers surrounding the track for a better view of the graduates.
Pelham High School Principal Dr. Mohr welcomed all attendees before recognizing the many accomplishments of individual students throughout their four years of high school.
Scholastic art award accomplishments included Zachary Storch – for two gold key ceramic portfolios, Eric Rossi – gold key ceramic portfolio, and Brenton Morgenstern – one in five American Visions best in show awards. The following also won multiple scholastic art awards: Kelly Ryan, Kristen Rooney, Darian Rideout, Sara Passamonte, Olivia Letendre, Karlee Erickson, Jared Hannon, Mandy Tobin, and Montana Darisse.
Musical accomplishments included Karlee Erickson, Matt Gellar, Matt Lamport and Shannon Lundin as members of the All State Honors Ensembles; Matt Gellar – four years in NH all state band and orchestra festival, top scorer in the state for clarinet and bass clarinet, member of the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanglewood Institute Young Artist Wind Ensemble; Matt Lamport – top soloist award at the Music in the Parks Festival 2015; and the senior members of the jazz band and concert band won 1st place at the Music in the Parks Festival.
Career and Technical Education accomplishments included Zachary Storch – state of NH award for welding; and Heather DeFranzo, Deedra Walsh, Elizabeth Gorfine, and Morgan Apkaria all earned their Licensed Nursing Assistant certification
Athletic accomplishments included the fall Spirit team and the boys’ basketball team for winning state championships; state champion shot put Alana Eshbach; Kellan Brouder and Jared Hannon, state champions in triple jump and long jump and qualifiers for the New England Meet of Champions Receiving all-state honors in their respective sports were Jared Hannon, Sara Passamonte; and Brooke Paradis, Morgan Pinksten, Katelyn Surprenant, Ashlyn Farwell, Brian Gettings, Ryan Cloutier, Dylan Silvestri, Kelsey Grimard and Lauren Anderson.
Dr. Mohr was especially pleased to announce that 108 of the graduating seniors have taken at least one college course through Pelham High School, and collectively earned 1,076 college credits before even graduating. Also putting a smile on Dr. Mohr’s face was announcing that “83 percent will be continuing in post-graduate educational opportunities” and six students are enlisting in the military: Robert Dufour (Navy), Casey Gendreau (Army), Colin Grosman (Marines), Nick Johnson (Marines), Brandon Mahogany (Navy,) and Travis Wallaker (Marines).
Class President Noah Lee began his speech by thanking all the faculty and staff at Pelham High School for their dedication and hard work throughout the four years he and his fellow classmates had attended the school. Preceding his thanks, Noah reminisced back to the times of being “booked in the hallways, punched, and laughed at for being freshmen.” He referred to the “great wisdom found” throughout the years of being picked on and explained that it helped build the foundation to become “a class that takes what we are given and we make the best of it” he continued, “we have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to be successful.” Noah “challenged” his fellow classmates to “raise the standard of excellence” in anything they do. He left them with the advice to “aspire to be good, and never stop until your good is better, and your better is your best. I want you to go out there and be the best at whatever it is that you want to do.”
Class essayist Andrea O’Hearn spoke about the change to come within all of her classmates’ lives. She explained both the good and the bad preparing her fellow classmates for their futures. “In a few short months we are going to be vulnerable again.” she explained, “Every decision we make will have a lasting effect on our futures. I hope you will use the experiences you have gained here at Pelham High to gage your future in the direction you want it to go.” While urging the class to “embrace the uncertainty” of their futures she also reminded everyone to “never forget your biggest supporters. Our parents, teachers, and coaches are the backbone to all of our success … They have always been there to pick us up when we have fallen, and now we are strong enough to pick ourselves up.”
Focusing less on the change to come, and more on the memories from high school that will be cherished was Christopher Day, class salutatorian. He began “eventually you will look back on high school and miss it”; something most of his classmates seemed to hear in disbelief. “You will look back with fond memories on the rooms with no windows and super small lockers that hardly fit your winter jacket. Yes, we will look back on these four years and remember the good times, even though right now at this moment, we are thrilled to be moving on past high school into the future!” Ending his speech Chris urged his class to pursue lives that allow them to “be happy, and make others happy.”
Class valedictorian Michael Camire was very wrong when he said that everyone listening “drew the short stick in terms of a valedictorian who will deliver a touching, funny and unforgettable commencement speech.” He gave great advice to his fellow classmates saying “life is full of ups and downs. You will have good days and bad days, you will make friends and lose friends, and you will have both failures and successes” and reminding them that “no matter what happens, it is important to never give up, never lose hope, and keep moving forward.” Michael closed his speech by reminding everyone that “everything is temporary. The bad days will go by; don’t let them get to you, and don’t let them deter you from following your dreams…cherish the good days, and hold on to those memories”