WHS Graduates Encouraged to Go Forth and Embrace Life

June 19, 2015

by Len Lathrop

“Windham High School is all of the hard work you put in”, Principal elect Robert Dawson told the 191 graduates on Friday, June 12 before they walked across the graduation stage to accept their diplomas.

Amanda Forti, class of 2015 Valedictorian, congratulated her peers and friends for “earning the right to hear people talk at you for a few hours before you are handed that sweet pleather bound ticket to freedom.”  As the 191 students dressed in blue listened, she quoted Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “Happiness is not something that happens to people but something that they make happen.”  She told the class “it’s time for us to start taking an active role in our own happiness.  Go forth and embrace the life WHS has prepared us for.”

Following the procession of teachers from the upper sport field came the graduates.  While many high school graduations are on football fields, the hilltop where the Jaguars call home set the stage. Little time is spend on that though, as Class Salutatorian, Madeline Riese, spoke of being nostalgic as the journey of Windham High School was coming to an end.  “Simply put, Windham teachers define high school – not in what they teach, but in how they teach it.  One thing I can say with certainty is that every student here has had their life touched in a positive way by one of their teachers.  The educators here are like nowhere else – inspiring, supportive, intelligent, caring and passionate.”

While Scholarship Awards, National Merit Scholarship Finalist Awards and Department awards were presented prior to graduation, a new and special award was announced and presented for the first time this year.  The faculty created a new tradition, the Windham High School Faculty Award.

Teachers were asked to nominate one student who embodied what it means to be a Jaguar.

“It’s time to recognize those of you who have gone above and beyond to be the best you can be,” said Jill Bartlett, a human performance teacher, as she and Social Studies teacher, Mr. Cade Nethercott, presented the award.  “You are a reflection of us, and of all the people who have come to help you mark this rite of passage.”  Barlett continued.

Nominated for 2015 were Alexander St. Cyr, Amanda Forti, Ana Dulskiy, Anthony Gall, Courtney Sweeny, Emily Bouley, Graham Smith, Haley Psares, Hannah Scott, Jack Grubbs, Jillian DiPerisio, Johnny Vasconsuelos, Julia Peet, Justin Manter, Casey Hampton, Kellin Bail, Kristin Tilley, Maddie Joanis, Michael Steffanelli, Nichole Lawrence, Patrick Hume, Rachel Lanouette.  Sam Grubbs, Troy Peters, Zach Hollins.

The inaugural Windham High School Faculty Award was presented to Mr. Anthony Gallo, who will be attending the University of New Hampshire.

Tim Morris, a Windham native, was the commencement speaker.  He who at age 26 was left paralyzed from a car accident on Route 93, spoke to the graduates about his accident and his life since that day.  He now participates in both Spartan Races and Tough Mudder events.  He is recognized as the first T4 paraplegic to complete a Tough Mudder race.  He told the graduates about his daily struggles; he told them about working toward goals emphasizing hard work, and that he knows he will walk again one day and will not stop until he does.  “The world is yours for the taking,” he said “Go get it”

Superintendent Winfried Feneberg presented the candidates to the School Board represented by its chairman Mr. Ken Erying, who declared the seniors, graduate, and conferred the diplomas.