Sunapee Graduates Urged to Savor Every Moment

Sunapee — Like most graduates, members of the Sunapee Middle High School class of 2014 spent part of their graduation ceremony looking back on their years together and part of it imagining their futures.

But rather than psyching each other up to go out and take on the world, Friday night’s speakers urged their classmates to pay attention to how they spend each moment of their lives.

A group of four students gave the class history, introducing the 38-person class one at a time. They described each student’s plans for the coming year, special classes they’d taken, sports they’d played, musicals they’d performed in, awards they had won. Often, they mentioned a student’s senior project, the diversity of which reflected their varied interests.

One student rebuilt a tractor, another built a 3-D printer. One wrote and performed rap songs, while others delved into history — their own family’s or otherwise, even taking part in Civil War re-enactment activities.

Their future paths will all be different, said class speaker Emily Whittier, who welcomed the crowd. Yet, in her “approximately 60-second” speech, she was able to offer advice that might apply to anyone: “Remember to exist.”

Don’t work miserably five days a week, living for the weekends, Whittier said. There is so much in this world to love, “don’t rush through anything.”

In his salutatory speech, star-gazer Sam Nosenzo likened their time together in the small school as “one great collision.”

“The more we collide, the more interlaced we become,” he said. “That’s why I believe wherever any one of us go, we’ll be taking each other with us.”

That knowledge makes him feel less afraid of the future than he might have otherwise been. “I won’t be going alone.”

Finally, he implored his classmates to take their time along their journeys “and collide.”

Principal Sean Moynihan announced the dozens of local awards students had received, totaling more than $35,000. The Sunapee community’s generosity, Moynihan said, “is greatly appreciated.”

In her speech, valedictorian Madison Fowler thanked parents, coaches and teachers — and the Sunapee community for “being so supportive and making this a wonderful place to grow.”

She reflected on how students had helped each other grow. Their school is small enough that every student in the class has interacted at least once with every other student, she said, and those interactions, however small, have shaped their experiences.

She then recalled a recent English class in which students were asked to consider the widespread tendency to focus on getting tasks done, rather than on taking the time to do them well. That misplaced emphasis might result in people taking shortcuts, such as cheating on homework to get good grades or taking steroids to improve one’s performance on the baseball field, she said.

“Take pride in everything you do, for life is only what you make it,” she said. “If you want your life to have meaning, you have to make it that way.”

As Pomp and Circumstance wound down, families flow ed o ut into the dusk, cameras in hand. The students, women in white gowns, men in dark green, gathered on the steps in front of the school, some giving celebratory whoops in the light drizzle.

When she emerged from the gym, graduate Brittany Coelho was greeted by her cousin, 4-year-old Adriano Coelho, who rushed up to give her an enormous hug. Coe lh o hopes to find a job in child care for the coming year, in order to raise money to attend Georgia Southern University, where she plans to study early childhood education. The years had gone fast, she said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s done.”

For graduate Anthony Riel, who attended the high school for the past three years, the time had sped by. While it felt like students had been in a rush to finish high school and get out of Sunapee, graduation was bittersweet, he said.

He will miss the after-school activities, such as drama club, and the friends he’s made at the school.

“I’m very close to them all,” he said.

Aimee Caruso can be reached at or 603-727-3210.


Abigail Armstrong, Keene State; Andrian Baker, River Valley Community College; Rhiannon Brewer, Green Mountain College; Candice Callum, RVCC; Laura Carvalho, Keene State; Megan Clarenbach, University of New England; Brittany Coelho, working; Matthew Coughlin, Quinnipiac University; Jonas Coverdale, working; Riley Denney, Middle Tennesse State University; Jesse Dewey, Colby College; Kaitlin Driscoll, working; Matthew Emmond, working; James Fitzgerald, Keene State; Brandon Fleming, University of Florida; Katelynn Fowler, Pace University; Madison Fowler, University of New Hampshire; Michael N. Fowler, Northwestern Ohio University; Alexander Gioldassis, New England College; Tristan Kemp, Vermont Technical College; Aubree Kozie, Bennington College; Kayla Lewis, NHTI; Malcolm Lewis, NHTI; Sam Nosenzo, University of Pittsburgh; Lea Peiffer, Universite Libre de Bruxelles; Christopher Peirce, Collby-Sawyer College; Joseph Reilly, Centenary College; Anthony Riel, Western New England University; James Sanborn, NHTI; Christopher Seale, working; Nicholas Skarin, Bentley University; Kristy Sullivan, Wheaton College; Erika Waterman, UNH; Rosina Webb, Boston University; Jack Weinberger, Springfield College; Emily Whittier, Smith College; Colby Wood, United States Marine Corps; Jesse Yates, Lakes Region Community College.


A Sampling of Speeches from Graduation 2014: ‘This Is the Part Where You Find Out Who You Really Are’

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

As the Upper Valley’s high school graduation season rolls to a close — Randolph Union High School will host its ceremony this evening — here’s a look back at some of the best lines from graduates’ speeches. Find our full list of graduation stories at the bottom of this page, browse graduation photo galleries on our Photos page, and view …