Class of 2016 Will Strive To Pay It Forward
By Elizabeth Cayouette-Gluckman
Friday night marked an important event in the lives of Salem High’s class of 2016—their high school graduation. The event was the culminating point of four years of hard work in high school, but more accurately, of thirteen years of their educational pursuits.
The graduation was held in the Salem High School field house, which housed hundreds of proud, teary, and boisterous friends and family members. The graduates were poised and confident during the ceremony, the result of tedious, but necessary, graduation practices throughout the week.
The night kicked off with performances by the Salem High band, wind ensemble, and string orchestra, all of which included their senior members, who stood out in their red caps and gowns. Interspersed throughout the ceremony were performances by the chorus, again including their senior members. The band and orchestra also provided recessional music.
The podium saw various honored members of the class of 2016, including William Phu (vice president, valedictorian), Erin Curley (secretary), Jhonel Roberts (treasurer, introduction of orator), Maise Shepard (introduction of president), Victoria Kako (president), Simon Barats (orator), Amanda Eddy (introduction of salutatorian), Kaitlin Copelas (salutatorian), and Reshelle Venico (introduction of valedictorian)
The introductions provided by Shepard, Roberts, Eddy and Venico were heartfelt and kind. It was clear they loved the friends they introduced, and that they were painfully proud of them.
Kako’s speech reminded graduates of the ups and downs of their high school career, from having perhaps the worst ever “deck the halls” floor display freshman year, to winning spirit week this past year. Barats’ speech paid tribute to the recently deceased Duane Batista, a beloved community member. His speech focused on time, and using it wisely.
Copelas’ speech was comical, with an emphasis on the truth behind clichés. She told a brief narrative about her time on the cross-country team, referencing to the cliché “there’s no i in team.” Eddy’s introduction of Copelas touched on Copelas’ own frequent personal refrain, “be safe, make good choices!”
Phu’s speech will no doubt go down in Salem High oral history, due to his creative incorporation of a common treat. Phu spoke of the little things in life, and appreciating small moments of joy. As a metaphor for this, he referenced sprinkle-covered Dunkin Donuts munchkins, and at the end of his speech he proceeded to pull a box of munchkins out from behind the podium, eat one, and distribute the rest to the honored guests on the stage.
This night was about honoring our graduates, and the tremendous amounts of hard work they put in. But it is important to note the gratitude that the graduates have towards their teachers, their administrators, their families, and their friends. We have received priceless support from all of these people and our graduation would not be possible without them. In graduating, we are moving on with the next chapter of our lives, but we will not forget the debt we have to Salem High School, and the Salem community. As many of us pursue our higher education, our careers, our military enrollment, in part due to financial support from the Salem community, we will all be working towards ultimately paying it forward.
Congratulations Class of 2016!