Woodsville High Graduates 72
Woodsville High School Valedictorian Nara Burgess speaks to the Class of 2013 during the school’s 117th commencement yesterday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
The Woodsville High School Class of 2013 follows the lead of junior marshals Ben Fournier and Elizabeth Blouin on their way to commencement yesterday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Kyle Jewett takes a moment off his feet while waiting with his classmates to march in to Woodsville High’s commencement ceremony. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Woodsville — Haley DeRosia didn’t crawl as a baby, she scooted, earning her the nickname “Scooter.” But yesterday morning, nearly 18 years later, she walked.
Under a bright blue sky, DeRosia and 71 other members of Woodsville High School’s Class of 2013 accepted their diplomas, taking their first steps into a post-high school life.
“I’d like to think that this would last longer,” DeRosia’s mother, Mary, said of the graduation, “but this is awesome. We’re very proud.”
At 10 a.m., with a bright sun at their backs, Woodsville’s graduates walked down a pathway lined with 10 American flags, flanked on either side by more than 500 family members who wielded cameras and pounced on smiles.
They filed on stage as Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance floated over the school soccer field. The boys smiled in their green caps and gowns; the girls grinned in their whites.
Graduate Natashia Baker welcomed every one.
“Today, we face one of the biggest changes of all: We will no longer be students of Woodsville High School,” Baker said. “We won’t know every single face in the hallway, or have nothing better to do than to hang out in the Wal-Mart parking lot. But to tell the truth, that is what I’m going to miss the most.”
Baker said she would be attending Keene State College in the fall, majoring in special education.
“I will be in charge of making my own choices and doing my own laundry,” she said, pausing for the crowd’s laughter. “It will be a difficult task, but I’m up for the challenge. I’m ready to move on and start this new chapter in my life. Congratulations Class of 2013. We did it!”
Baker returned to her seat, making way for Sadie Matteson’s salutatory speech, which kept its eye on the future.
“People will tell you or have told you that high school contains the best years of our lives,” Matteson said. “I refuse to accept that, as you all should. The best years of our lives are ahead of us now.”
She added that “high school was safe, it was predictable,” and urged her peers to remember how much potential the rest of the world holds.
“I have a list of challenges for you to accomplish, some you may laugh at,” Matteson said. “But I feel they all have pertinence to the life I hope you all live — a happy one.”
Matteson told her classmates to take chances, to be loud and heard, to be loyal and honest, to give freely and expect nothing in return, to believe in magic and to always be thankful for miracles.
“Never lose your inner child,” she said. “Just learn when to let it show.”
Woodsville’s valedictorian, Nara Burgess, shared a metaphorical story during her speech.
“During the summer, I was asked to walk through a labyrinth that was laid out on the ground,” said Burgess, who was home-schooled before joining Woodsville High her freshman year. “There were other people doing the same thing, and we would occasionally meet up on the path. That is when I started to see how similar life is to a labyrinth. You know where it starts and what is at the end, but what is in the middle is unsure.”
Burgess said the experience revealed the importance of balance.
“When I met people in the labyrinth, I had to choose whether to step aside or let them step aside,” she said. “This is like life because we have to choose to put ourselves first or to put other people before ourselves.”
That balance is hard, she said, “but worth it in the end.”
After each student received his or her diploma, DeRosia strode to the stage for the farewell address, with friends and family members chanting “Scooter” from their seats.
“I want to say congratulations to each and every one of my fellow classmates,” DeRosia said. “We started out high school so anxious for this day to come, and now it’s here, almost over. All of your hard work over the past 13 years is in your hands now.
“As we all leave today to start our own journeys, I want everyone to reflect on their years one at a time, and enjoy the last few moments that we have together as Woodsville High School’s Class of 2013.”
A flock of caps shot into the air, white and green specks in the sky. The students cheered, some parents wept and others smiled. Everyone clapped and whistled.
Pomp and Circumstance wafted across the field once more as the graduates joined their families.
“It’s a great day. There’s some wonderful kids out there now,” Jones said as he watched his crop of newly graduated students smile and pose for pictures. “Hope for the future is bright. It is, it just is.”
Zack Peterson can be reached at 603-727-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 2013
Here are Woodsville High School’s 2013 graduates, as provided by the school: Brandon Allbee; Aaron Apigian; Matthew Abrams; Natashia Baker; Erva Barnes II; Katherine Bazzell; Tiarra Beatrice; Kevin Briggs; Rachel Brill; Nathan Brusseau; Nara Burgess; Dayton Burns; Reilly Butler; Billy Carbino; Zachary Catterall; Kiri Chaplin; Adam Chase; Corey Colbeth; Andrew Coleman; Mariah Coulstring; Phillip Currier; Haley DeRosia; Michael DiDomenico; Nathan Englert; Thomas Fiske; Madeline Gadwah; Sophie George; Virginia Good; Cameron Gover; Rebecca Haney; Hunter Harris; Scott Heath; Jennifer Hill; Allison Hirschman; Ashley Hopp; Christopher Hunter; Hallie Huntley; Andrew Jensen; Kyle Jewett; Dianah Joslin; Schadi Keramrezaei; Charlotte LaFond; Luke Lalmond; Connor LaLonde; Connie Lankiewicz; Kirsten Lebron; Laura Luurtsema; Jeremy Machia; Sadie Matteson; Joseph Mazzilli; Chris McAllister; Hannah Miner; Peter Munroe; Kate Myers; Heather O’Neil; Tyler Page; Geoffrey Pickering; Kayla Sackett; Alexandria Saladino; Mikayla Schulz; Abigail Simano; Joshua Smith; Kayla Snell; Thayne Spencer; Jessy Stockton; Dayna Thornton; Jordyn Tierney; Joseph Towne; Shaun Trapletti; Alexandra Valliant; Michael Vogt; Samuel Wilson.