DURHAM — Superintendent James Morse and Principal Suzanne Filippone are pleased to announce the graduation of 200 students from Oyster River High School.
Oyster River High School held an outdoor commencement ceremony on Friday, June 11, at the high school.
Class President Ella Gianino emphasized how the 2020-2021 school year was one full of “no’s” for the senior class, because they were prevented from taking part in many of the traditions that make senior year special. However, those sacrifices only made the gradually more frequent “yeses” feel even better.
“Of course, the best yes of all, the fact that yes, we can be here together today for an in-person ceremony. Yes, we can gather one last time as the Class of 2021, showing that no matter how many “no’s” this year has thrown at us, we won. Defying the odds, we won because we’re here, we’re leaving the high school as an outstanding graduating class, with such bright futures ahead of us,” Gianino said. “The truth is, we are, as a class, so much more than what we’ve experienced since last March.”
The ceremony included welcome remarks from Principal Filippone, speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian, and the conferring of diplomas. Class Vice President Tessa Lippmann also announced that the graduating class will donate its remaining class funds to the Jimmy Fund as a class gift, benefitting the organization’s efforts to combat childhood cancer.
The Class of 2021 Valedictorian is Aaron Hoag of Lee. Hoag plans to attend the University of New Hampshire’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture in the fall. In his speech, Hoag urged his fellow graduates to reflect on the advantages they’ve had in their own lives and be mindful of the perspectives of those who have not been as fortunate.
“Oyster River is a wonderful, generous community, but — and it’s a big but — it can’t be denied that it’s a generally privileged community. We have so many great resources in this school and in our personal lives, and that’s something to celebrate, but we have to remember that a lot of people outside our community don’t have these same advantages,” Hoag said. “I’d like to remind everyone that it’s especially important for us all to listen outside of our community and outside of what we know. There are so many inequalities in our world that should be fixed, but won’t be fixed until we acknowledge them. For us to all acknowledge these problems, we have to listen to new types of people, hear their stories and invite their perspectives into our own lens. No more rose-tinted glasses.”
The Class of 2021 Salutatorian is Calla Tucker of Lee. She will be attending Purdue University’s College of Engineering.
“I know there is no limit to what we can achieve. However, as we all move into the future, remember, in the words of Ferris Bueller, that ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,'” Tucker said. “We are a high- achieving class so, dive into life, don’t be afraid to make a mistake; it’s okay. Tough times test character. How you respond to a mistake is what matters. If you keep moving forward, you might be surprised at how much you learn from mistakes and enjoy the process of learning something new.”