A New Beginning In Chelsea
Chelsea — As the Class of 2014 graduated from Chelsea High School, their class motto — Aut viam inveniam aut Faciam, or “I’ll either find a way or make one” — seemed especially appropriate.
“You’re capable men and women and you will find your own way,” said guest speaker DeRoss Kellogg, a retired teacher who taught math and science at Chelsea for 34 years. “Take risks and learn from your mistakes.”
Kellogg began his speech with a “good morning,” drawing laughs from the crowd attending the evening ceremony. “But in all seriousness, it’s the beginning of the day for these students, metaphorically speaking,” he said.
He spoke nostalgically of the experiences he had had teaching many of the graduates. “Several students bear the scars of me throwing erasers at their heads when they weren’t paying attention,” he said.
But Kellogg also noted that eventually, he came to refer to his students as “my kids” instead of “my class.”
“They’re more than smart. They’re gifted,” he said. “More importantly, they’re caring and inclusive.”
Kellogg advised the students to “find a job you love. Life is too short to do something that makes you unhappy. Knowing you the way I do, I’m confident that the future is in your hands.”
He concluded his speech by urging the graduates to “ride off to meet the sunrise.”
Chelsea awarded 14 diplomas to graduating seniors, as well as two honorary degrees to exchange students Jakub Ivanchik, from Slovakia, and Tito Martin, from Spain. Samuel Amber, Taylor Brinkman and Anthony Spinella were the valedictorians, and Robert Hood IV, Caitlin Mazzarella, Andrea Neville and Garrett Royce were the salutatorians. The graduates received numerous scholarships and awards in recognition of their accomplishments.
“They’re a great group. They went beyond the walls of Chelsea High School in their endeavors,” said Principal Mark Blount, referring to the fact that many members of the senior class had studied at places such as Vermont Technical College to further their education. “I’m proud of them and I know they’ll do well.”
“This is bittersweet,” Brinkman said. “We’ve grown up together and we’re a family. But I’m confident that we’re ready to embark on this journey alone.”
“We’re dynamic, well-grounded people,” Spinella said. “We seek out opportunities and challenges. And it’s because Chelsea has given us a fire and a hunger for work.”
In Neville’s salutatorian address, she spoke of her roots as a first-generation high school graduate and a first-generation college student. “You can either go with the motions, or dig in and try as hard as you can,” she said. “With great change comes great sacrifice, but also great blessings.”
As the class song, See You When I See You by Jason Aldean, played, the seniors continued a yearly tradition of handing out carnations to parents, teachers and friends in appreciation of their support. And as each senior received a diploma, the loud applause, cheers and whistles revealed the tight-knit nature of the Chelsea community.
As valedictorian Spinella said in his speech, “None of us will forget our roots in little old Chelsea.”
Lauren Bender can be reached at email@example.com.
CLASS OF 2014
Samuel Amber, Marlboro College; Kimberley Bartlett, working; Anthony Berkeley, Community College of Vermont Business; Hannah Braman, Castleton State College; Taylor Brinkman, University of Vermont; Robert Hood IV, Norwich University; Travis King, University of Northwestern Ohio; Caitlin Mazzarella, Marlboro College; Andrea Neville, Lyndon State College; Kayleigh Peterson, Community College of Vermont; Brandon Poulin, Castleton State College; Alexander Richardson, Lakes Region Community College; Garrett Royce, Vermont Technical College; Anthony Spinella, University of Vermont.