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In Hanover, ‘Some Day We’ll Touch the Sun’

Hanover High School graduates laugh at fellow senior Brendan Barth’s speech at the Class of 2013’s graduation at the school last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Hanover High School graduates laugh at fellow senior Brendan Barth’s speech at the Class of 2013’s graduation at the school last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

Hanover — Amid the other 186 newly minted graduates, Sam Mellert spotted Sam Burriss and ran up the slope above the east end zone of the Hanover High football field to offer a fist bump for the farewell with which the class of 2013’s resident comedian had sent his fellow Marauders out into the world laughing last night.

“You were awesome,” Mellert declared with a smile.

So was just about everything else about a celebration that Mellert couldn’t imagine sharing in full before surgeons in 2006 and 2007 implanted the cochlear devices that allowed him to hear with clarity for the first time in his life.

“In the stands I was thinking, ‘Seven years ago, I never would have been able to dream of appreciating a ceremony like that,’” the Bates College-bound senior said. “I’d say probably close to none of this would have been possible. In fifth grade, with the hearing aids I had before (the implants), my social skills and all of that was non-existent. I was painfully shy — 180 degrees from where I am today. I wouldn’t have had the guts to try out for the golf team, or play baseball. With the hearing aids, hearing someone speak without looking at me, it was so hard to catch all the meaning.”

So last night, he hung on every word of the graduation address in which co-valedictorian and Senior Council moderator Melanie Subbiah noted that “Each of us has shaped this school and our classmates,” recited a Winston Churchill quote — “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” and concluded by urging her classmates to “love our roots, but also stretch our branches to the sky. … Who knows? Maybe some day we’ll touch the sun.”

Mellert cheered social studies teacher Margaret Caldwell, a Hanover graduate who exhorted the class not to forget what’s going on in the world while they immerse themselves in their college studies. Recalling her high school commute through the room in Dartmouth’s Baker Library containing the famous Orosco murals, she cited the panel on which skeletons in academic garb pay no attention to the burning world behind them.

Whether celebrating at a fraternity or connecting on Facebook or sipping coffee at Starbucks, Caldwell concluded, “I hope that you feel a flush rise on your neck, and you will turn, jump in, and fight some fires.”

Then there were classmate Nathaniel Choukas’ musical collaborations, first with fellow graduate Ian Smith on Choukas’ own song, Graduation — “There’s no place like home/I don’t feel alone” — and with Chloe Brisson’s rendition of the Sarah McLachlan song I Will Remember You — “Don’t let your life pass you by/Weep not for the memories.”

A little more than midway through the presentation of diplomas, Dean of Students Ian Smith called the name “Samuel Mellert,” who strode across the stage to the cheers of his parents, Barbara and Hugh, and his brother and fellow cochlear implant recipient Thom Mellert.

Mellert later laughed with the rest of the class, and the teachers and the families, through a stand-up routine in which Sam Burriss declared, “Hanover is about athletics and academics, but it’s more about having a good time. You only live once. All of you. Except for the Buddhists out there …”

Finally, Mellert stood with his classmates when Burriss bade them rise to sing these lines from The Sound of Music : “So long/Farewell/ Auf wiedersehen …”

Class of 2013

Addante, Ricardo A., University of California at Santa Barbara; Alexander, Giulia R, Gap Year; Alibozek, Rachel Ann Ann, Elmira; Anderson, Joel, Montana State University, Bozeman; Andrews, Dashiell, United States Military Academy; Augustinowicz, Liza L., Allegheny; Austin-Washburn, Elise S, University of New Hampshire; Bardos, Aidan Lorraine, Wesleyan University; Bartels, Sophia M, Colby; Barth, Brendan W, Dartmouth; Beach, Matthew B, Boston University; Beaubien, Jean-Luc C, Dartmouth; Bedford, Hannah P, Gap Year; Bedford, Monica W Waterman, St. Lawrence University; Berger, Aurora, Savannah of Art and Design; Bergeron, Augustina, River Valley Community College; Boillotat, Jenna D, Colby-Sawyer; Bowen, Nicholas Terry T, Johnson & Wales University; Bradley, Katherine Elizabeth, Dartmouth; Brechbuhl, Katherine, Air Force Academy; Brighton, Elizabeth MacKenzie, George Washington University; Brisson, Chloe L, University of Miami; Bristol, Genevieve W, University of Maine; Brooks, Sawyer W, Oberlin; Brown, Alex R, Bates; Brown, James Sinclair, Dartmouth; Burriss, Samuel A, Burlington; Butler, Henry R, Trinity; Carsey, Gary Wayne, Johnson & Wales University; Chen, Katherine Y, Harvard; Chobanian, Anna M, Quinnipiac University; Choukas, Nathaniel R, Trinity; Coates, Matthew G, UVM; Comstock, Kendra Michelle, Oklahoma City University; Cornell, Maxwell E, Undecided/No Plans; Couture, Matthew Robert, Castleton State; Coyle, Jacqueline M, Boston; Cravero, Joseph M, of the Holy Cross; Cutting, Jesse Smith, Paul Smith’s; D’Orsi, Nicholas Vincent, of Charleston; Daniels, Alexis J, Johnson State; Danna, Morgan P, St. Lawrence University; Davis, Richard, Johnson State; DeLucia, William L, Lehigh University; Demarest, Ethan Barnes B, Ringling of Art and Design; Denton, Bethany Ying, St. Olaf; DeRoy, Christian E, University of Vermont; Dietz, Eloise Rose, Dartmouth; Donnelly, Elizabeth Frances, University of South Florida, Tampa; Dunfey, Edward R, Bard; Dwinell, Harry James James, University of Colorado at Boulder; Estes, Zachary Hayden, St. Lawrence University; Fall, Sarah R, Centre; Farr, Ryan D, St. Lawrence University; Finley, Samuel R, SUNY at Potsdam; Fleming-Steinberg, Isaac D, Northeastern University; Foster, Aset, Richmond (London); Gallimore, Sarah Elizabeth, University of New Hampshire; Gantrish, Liam W, Kalamazoo; Gardner, Parker T, Dartmouth; Gaudet, Kelly E, Dartmouth; Gehlbach, John, University of Pennsylvania; Glenshaw, Hannah, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Goss, Parker Russell, Sewanee: The University of the South; Gow, Elizabeth H Other school Paul Mitchell Beauty School; Greenwood, Drake D, University of Colorado at Boulder; Grussing, Margaret D, Marist; Haas, Elizabeth Ann, University of New Hampshire; Hanley, Allison E, Northeastern University; Harris, Cole E, University of Puget Sound; Harris, Martin A, University of Oregon; Hayes, Benjamin W., University of Puget Sound; Higgins, John L.M., Ithaca; Himmelstein, Joshua D, College of William and Mary; Hoehn, Alexander Karl Karl, Evergreen State; Hum-Hyder, Thomas J, Trinity; Hurford, Paul T, Deferring one year then attending Emmanuel; Irwin, Katherine R, Colby; Jayanti, Siddhartha V, Princeton University; Jin, Matthew G, Dartmouth; Jodoin, Jamison P, University of New Hampshire; Johnson, Hannah M, Cedarville University (Nursing); Keating, Carl M, Northeastern University; Kehler, Mira Carol, University of New Hampshire; Kenkel, Jonathan K, St. Olaf; Kittredge, Alyssa Perry Other Traveling; Kuehlert, Niels Torben, Cornell University; LaCrosse, Carter G, Northwestern University; Lacy, Suriya D, The University of Findlay; Lahr-Pastor, Katerina, University of California at San Diego; Lan, Eric, Parsons The New School for Design; LaPoint, Jacob M, University of Maine; LaRock, Addison, University of Puget Sound; Licciardi, Olivia L Lynn, Merrimack; Little, John W, University of New Hampshire; Lubrano, Georgia W W, Colby; Lyons, Gwynn G, Stanford University; MacMillen, Dewey Lorin, Northeastern University; Manning, Benjamin S, Washington University in St. Louis; Martin, Joshua M, Gap Year; McGowan, Kalin, Trinity; Mellert, Samuel B, Bates; Menard, Katrina A, Bucknell University; Merrens, Samuel J, Dartmouth; Miller, Ellen M, of Charleston; Mills, Grey S, Hampshire; Minelli, Kelli M, University of New Hampshire; Montgomery, James I, Plymouth State University; Morrison, Brett N, The Culinary Institute of America; Mott, Sophie Cynthia Other Traveling; Mueller, Christian D D, Elon University; Mullen, Nicholas John, University of Vermont; Murphy, Joseph, University of New Hampshire; Neumann, Kyle August, Montana State University, Bozeman; Nichols, Timothy Ryan, Gap Year; Noonan, Claudia L, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Northrup, Samantha N, Regency Beauty Institute in Texas; O’Leary, Matthew P, Brandeis University; O’Rourke, Ryan D, Xavier University; Obbard, Theodore L, University of Hartford; Oseid, Eric A, St. Olaf; Osheyack, Daniel, St. Edward’s University; Pentland, Lilian, University of California at Santa Cruz; Pike, James T Talbot, Elmira; Piper, Duncan J, Middlebury; Psomas, Anastasia H, Ringling of Art and Design; Pult, Athena T, Oberlin; Quijano, Nicholas E, Wheelock; Ray, Laura Taylor, Skidmore; Reid, Graham H, Kenyon; Richardson, Galen, University of British Columbia; Rogers, Ethan B, University of Vermont; Rollenhagen, Aline, Attending a in Germany; Rollins, Atticus B Other Year off then attend Seton Hall University; Rothwell-Ferraris, Cyrus, Clemson University; Sabatelle III, Robert Charles, Case Western Reserve University; Salvatoriello, Mary A, Springfield; Sayles, Gregory B, Colorado; Schwartz, Erica S, Tufts University; Seaman, Eleanor C, Davidson; Serat, Simone, Duke University; Siegel, Jacob William W, Hamilton ; Siegel, Raina D, Occidental; Simpson, Hunter B., Traveling then attending University of Puget Sound; Singh, Harangad, McGill University; Slayton, Daniel Gregory, Southern Methodist University; Smith, Elizabeth Seymour, Dartmouth; Smith, Hannah C, Whitman; Smith, Ian Magan, University of Vermont; Sobel, Hannah R, Middlebury; Spalding, Megan Elizabeth, Lewis & Clark; Stadler, Henry M, Indiana University at Bloomington; Steiner, Vaughn M, University of Vermont; Stephenson, Rita Sakiko, University of Washington; Stone, Casimir Mitchell Edel, University of Michigan; Strohbehn, Ian A Austin, Middlebury; Subbiah, Melanie S, Williams; Taylor, Austin Marshall, University of Denver; Taylor, Zachary Armstrong, of Charleston; Thompson, Anne Catherine, of the Holy Cross; Tosteson, Helen Asimina, Cornell University; Trautlein, Sarah C, University of South Carolina; Turkington, Simon Callahan, Georgetown University; Uryase, Craig, Furman University; Valentine, Halli R, Keene State; van Leer, Samantha G, Vassar; Vincelette, Katherine E, St. Lawrence University; Vogt, Lydia, St. Lawrence University; Voigt, George A, Colby; Walker, Safiya I Ilena, Brown University; Webster, Emma Katharine, Bard; Weiss, Jessica T, Bowdoin; Wetmore, Jenevra Ann, Middlebury; White, Augustas T, University of San Francisco; White, David, Tulane University; Wilcox, Oren F, Dartmouth; Wild, Robert G, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Williams, Alexis C, Bard; Williams, Noah N N, Williams; Wilson, Daniel Laurence, Earlham; Winer, Molly Elizabeth Joy, Brandeis University; Yesman, Rain Orion, Southern Maine Community; Young, Hayden A, Wittenberg University; Yu, Shuo, University of Pennsylvania; Yukica, Joseph M, University of New Hampshire; Zeng, Jiade, Purdue University; Zerphy, Olivia Crow, Vassar; Zhang, Ziqi, Boston University;

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