Kearsarge: Be ‘Grinders,’ Not ‘Whiners’
Haley Brook accepts the title of faculty emeritus for her late father Warren Brook during Kearsage High School's graduation ceremonies on Saturday afternoon. (Ben DeFlorio Photograph)
Kearsarge High School's class of 2014 throw their caps in the air in celebration while fireworks burst in the air in front of them at graduation ceremonies on Saturday. (Ben DeFlorio Photograph)
Member's of the Class of 2026 sing "God Bless America" to the enjoyment of the Class of 2014 during commencement ceremonies at Kearsage High School on Saturday afternoon. (Ben DeFlorio Photograph)
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Sutton, N.H. — Kearsarge High School’s graduation has some unusual traditions, including the singing of God Bless America by the kindergartners who this year will make up the class of 2026.
On Saturday, there was an added reason to celebrate for senior Ryan Havey.
As he came off the stage after receiving his Kearsarge diploma, Havey took several steps, stopped and stared for a moment before rushing forward and getting a bear hug from his brother, Brandon.
The older Havey, 25, is in the Army and stationed in Alaska but made an unannounced appearance to see his brother graduate.
Brandon Havey said later he arrived Friday night — only their parents knew — and hid behind the bleachers on the football field, waiting until Ryan had his diploma.
“He started crying a bit and said, ‘what are you doing here,’” Brandon said after the ceremony.
The moment was applauded by those gathered to see the 126 graduates celebrate their final day of high school.
Valedictorians Jonalyn Burt and Johan Carter Noordsij took slightly different approaches in their remarks, but each praised the class of 2014. Burt began by saying her class came to the high school with a poor reputation in terms of respect and behavior but four years later they have “proven themselves to be both passionate and successful.
“We have raised the bar athletically, artistically and academically,” she said.
She credited the class for being “vastly intelligent,” and not just in an academic sense as many have been productive outside of school in their church, the fire department, jobs and even hometown politics.
“It is clear we are not ruled by the labels that have been pushed upon us. We have become better individuals, though we didn’t start out the way they expected us to,” Burt said.
When the poor reputation is peeled away “what we are left with is a stellar group of individuals who are prepared to work for what they care about.”
Noordsij’s words touched on a couple of ideas. He gave a big thank you to those who put together Saturday’s event and his family, teachers, friends and others who helped him reach this moment.
For the class, he said regardless of what lies ahead, each one “should all be proud of what they have accomplished here.” He continued with an analogy of something he read recently that demonstrated how fortunate Kearsarge graduates are. If the world’s population were condensed to a village of 100, half would live on less than $2 a day, 22 would have access to a computer, 23 would have no shelter, one-third would have a high school diploma and only seven a college degree, he said.
“Most of us have all or nearly all of these things,” Noordsij said. “It may sound corny but we truly are some of the luckiest people on the planet.
“With everything that has been invested in us, we owe it to humanity to help those who are less fortunate during our limited time on this earth. The magnitude of our impact can only be measured by the lives we change and the world we choose to leave behind for future generations. Strive to make it better than the one we were born into and strive to end every chapter of your life better than it began.”
Noordsij, who will study engineering at Dartmouth, said his dad told him successful people are “grinders.”
“They do what it takes finish the job, not afraid of failure, seize every opportunity and make every mistake but they will grind through all of it. Find a passion, eliminate the fear of failure and be a grinder, not a whiner,” he said.
He finished by asking his classmates to keep friends and family close to their hearts because they will be there to point you in the right direction.
“Enjoy the good times with the people you love most and don’t forget to hug them and thank them after you throw up that cap.”
As the afternoon ceremony began, skies cleared enough for the sun to peek through the clouds when the graduates walked to the field while Scotland the Brave and The Rose of Allendale was played by Elliot Smith on the bagpipes.
As he does each year, Principal Jim Daley singled out a number of students — including the top 10 scholars and New Hampshire Scholars — for their academic, athletic and artistic accomplishments, asking each one to stand after he briefly summarized their achievements.
Superintendent Jerome Frew introduced three new faculty emeritus members, who have made significant contributions to the high school through long and distinguished service and administration, teaching and or service. This year’s members are Gary H. Baker, social studies and English for 32 years; the late Warren Brook, math, 14 years and Project Climb (outdoor education); and David Cross, school to career program, 22 years.
After the graduates received their diplomas to cheers and applause, Class President Bailey Kane concluded the commencement summarizing some of his enjoyable experiences at Kearsarge.
He said he learned to appreciate the class that faced the difficulties of high school together to become athletes, musicians, artists, authors and more.
“There is no doubt in my mind the future holds nothing but success and prosperity for each and every one of the members of the Kearsarge class,” Kane said.
Patrick O’Grady can be reached at email@example.com
CLASS OF 2014
Alexander David Akpan; Hayley Nicole Anderson; William Astle; Cassidy Atherton; William Aufranc; Nicholas Steven Lawrence Bailey; Lee Daniel Baker; John Robert Barber; Trevor Paul Beaulieu; Adam Beck; Reed Michael-David Bell; Kenneth Benward; Erica Dawn Bologna; Karver Bosela; Victoria Botana; Jordan Michael Boucher; Tanner Paul Boucher; Emily YanLing Bourke; Leah Bowman; Noah Martin Braun; Mitchell Eric Brewster; Haley Anna Brook; Elizabeth Ann Brooks; Gabriella Burns; Jonalyn Alyssa Burt; Anna Buckley Cahill; Melissa Rose Callaghan; Kristina Marie Camire; Brigid Katherine Carr; Colleen Elizabeth Clausen; Alexandra Faye Colby; Cameron Commerford; Shane Corley; Marissa Anne DeAngelis; Jackson Joseph Dever; Dominic Christian DiDominic; Kasandra Dlugolecki; Amanda Vivian Dugas; Sabrina Lee Duquette; Andrew J. Ellis; MacKenzie Emery; Devin Micheal Fillebrown; Garrett Paul Flinkstrom; Meghan Elisabeth Fortier; Caroline Elizabeth Foy; Mark Gadoury; Morgan Elizabeth Galluzzo; Benjamin Goss; Jayla Christine Green; Matthew Hahn; Keatton Josiah Hansen; Zachary Denis Francis Hargreaves; Ryan Kraig Havey; Dennis Heiner Jr.; Tanya Jean Hill; Chloe Hodgdon; Nathaniel Horn; Emily Rose Irick; Caitlynn Mae Jackson; Sophie Jadoul; Molly Beth Jenna; Tess Tiana Jewell; Hayley Joseph; Bailey Orion Kane; Kathleen Marie Kowalski; Svetlana K Kozikowski; Christopher Dennis L’Heureux; Robert John Lauster; Sarah Elizabeth Libby; Katie Elizabeth Lindh; Kelsey Mae Lobdell; Myles Tucker Lord; Alison Shea MacDonald; Christian Marsh; Jacob Michael Marshall; Logan Alexander Maville; Kate McCandless; Conor James McGuire; Jerrianne Allison Mitchell; Jackson Morse; Trevor Morse; Dakota Mulliner; Samantha Marie Mulvey; Amber Leigh Murray-Hager; Nikolas Neuwirt; Travis Newman; Johan Carter Noordsij; Brian O’Mara; Morgan Patten; Alden Charles Perkins; Tyalar Marie Pitta; Sara Poirier; Joseph Michael Porter; Amelia J. Powers; Samuel Martin Powers; Judith Adriana Prijdekker; Stephen M. Pulaski; Roudy Rehor; Oscar Roberto Reid; Steven Jeffrey Ricker; Lauren Elizabeth Rivet; Micheal R. Sanville; James Scherer; Katharine Scheuch; Randy Will Shampney Jr.; Connor J. Shannon; Hunter Adam Sicely; Michael Simon; Alexander Simoneau; Dakota Slack; Tyler George Slamon; Charles Smith; Rylee Marie Snow; Carley St.Louis; Berkley Stevens; Kurt Daniel Thomas; Emma Tilley; Sophia Rae Tucker; Matthew Ryan Turco; Andrew John Van Hooydonk; Drake Adam von Kannewurff; Jocelyn Scout Vierzen; Adam James Way; Jacob Wedig; Natalie Joy Witmer; Amber Marie Young.