MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Principal John Murray are pleased to announce the graduation of 156 students from Medway High School.
A graduation ceremony was held Sunday, June 6.
The ceremony included a welcome and president’s address by Elissa Ghassan Alarmani, greetings from School Committee Chairperson Susan Dietrich, a valedictory address by Lillian Woodard and salutatory address by Nicholas Tomasetti, an honors essay presentation by Grace Brueckner, and remarks by Superintendent Pires and Principal Murray.
Alarmani began the ceremony by welcoming the graduates, faculty, staff and guests. She led the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced senior members of the choral program to sing the National Anthem. She also introduced district and high school administrators, the school resource officer and members of the Medway School Committee and Select Board, and recognized the faculty and staff of Medway Public Schools.
“For many of us, the McGovern School, Burke-Memorial School, Medway Middle School and Medway High School have been our home away from home. It is the faculty and staff who made it feel this way,” Alarmani said. “Some have known us for long before we even knew what a cap and gown for graduation even was. Others graded our tests, corrected our essays, picked us up when we fell down and gave us a shoulder, a helping hand or a not-so-gentle nudge when we needed it. We would not be here today without you.”
Chair Dietrich congratulated the graduates on behalf of the school committee.
“As I look out at all of the graduates’ faces, I see the tremendous talents each of them has, and I believe in the good they will do for our world. I see artists, musicians, athletes and volunteers. I see entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and scholars. I see artisans, leaders, teachers and creators. I see minds working to solve problems, seeking answers to the complex issues of our world and striving to succeed in the face of adversity,” Dietrich said. “And so I ask you graduates today, who will you choose to be, and how will you choose to apply your gifts? There is no such thing as living a neutral life. We are all the sum total of the choices we make – what we read, what we listen to, the media we consume, the people we spend our time with. Every choice we make is reflected back to the world in the people we become.”
Tomasetti spoke about the many traits of the senior class that will help them go on to be successful, including their talent and passion, their ability to work hard to achieve success and their adaptability.
“Today we celebrate graduation, the end of our childhood education but more importantly, the start of the next chapter in our lives. Some of us will go to college, others will enlist in the Armed Forces, and some will join a trade,” Tomasetti said. “While our past, I believe, is indicative of a bright future, we must not stop our efforts now. As we transition into the next stage of our lives, I implore my peers to continue to exemplify the traits we have collectively demonstrated and that I highlighted today. These past four years have prepared us well for the future but our destiny is now in our own hands.”
Brueckner also discussed how she developed the skill of adaptability in the past year, and how she became a more appreciative person.
“It is important to acknowledge what we have lost in the past year. But it is also worthwhile to remember what we gained. I gained more appreciation for simple things like hearing classmates joke around before class after too many quiet Zoom meetings, greeting people with a wave or a smile in the hallways, and even doing vocal warmups in chorus class,” she said. “Our class is made up of 156 individuals, who each have a unique path. Although we will all embark on different endeavors in the coming years – practicing gratitude is a habit everyone can find useful.”
Woodard also spoke about success and how everyone’s version of succeeding is different.
“There is no one definition of success; success is something we must find for ourselves to reach our unbounded potential,” she said. “As we move forward I hope we can allow ourselves to experience confusion, joy, sadness, accomplishment, and everything in between. I know you all will continue to inspire the communities around you just as you have inspired me. Never be afraid to pursue your goals, and experience the full range of what life has to offer.”
Superintendent Pires told a story of a parent email he received last summer thanking the district faculty and staff for their work to plan for the school year. He discussed the benefit of gratitude and the positive impact it has on the receiver and sender.
“That early show of gratitude changed my perspective on the importance of making sure that we share gratitude at every opportunity,” Superintendent Pires said. “Many have noted that for them, the circumstances created by the pandemic have helped them to gain a heightened appreciation for small things, for many of those things that would often be taken for granted. Most of us were able to spend more time with our families. Most of us were able to enjoy the food that we had access to, cook creative meals, engage in marathon game and movie nights with our families. Activities like reading, and walking, and taking in a good sunset took on a different level of importance this year.”
In the spirit of offering gratitude, Superintendent Pires then went on to thank those who helped make the year successful, including: school committee members Dietrich, Cindy Sullivan, Lauren Nassiff and Tim Fagerson, and former member Jeff Segarra; Medway Town Manager Mike Boynton; members of the Select Board and other town boards and departments; the district leadership team; Medway’s educators; and the 2021 graduates.
“Our students have all the skills and attributes that we believe have them prepared for whatever comes next in their lives,” Principal Murray said to end the ceremony. “They have persevered; they have shown poise in the face of adversity. As the world opens up and new opportunities arise, our students will be prepared to seize the moment and to thrive.”
Following the speeches, diplomas were presented by Superintendent Pires, Principal Murray and Assistant Principal David List.