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Windsor Conquers New Tier

Even on Last Day, Class Had to Adjust

  • Nandy Thompson hugs Windsor High School principal’s assistant Terri Hage after receiving her diploma last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Nandy Thompson hugs Windsor High School principal’s assistant Terri Hage after receiving her diploma last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Salutatorian Matthew Grimo takes a dig at the decision to hold commencement in the school’s gym instead of outdoors by carrying an umbrella to the podium to give his address. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Salutatorian Matthew Grimo takes a dig at the decision to hold commencement in the school’s gym instead of outdoors by carrying an umbrella to the podium to give his address. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Nandy Thompson hugs Windsor High School principal’s assistant Terri Hage after receiving her diploma last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Salutatorian Matthew Grimo takes a dig at the decision to hold commencement in the school’s gym instead of outdoors by carrying an umbrella to the podium to give his address. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Windsor — In playful protest of school officials’ decision to move commencement to the Windsor High School gymnasium, salutatorian Matthew Grimo flung open a rainbow-printed umbrella on his way to the stage last night.

“Sorry about that, I was afraid it was going to rain,” he said, gaining robust applause from a full audience.

Although the rainy weather dissipated and sunshine emerged yesterday, the field where graduation was to be held was saturated, so the ceremony was moved inside.

Grimo was not alone in his public display, as the majority of the 43 Windsor High graduates wore sunglasses during their march and for most of the ceremony.

Everything aside, graduate Chase Sanborn spread words of wisdom on the situation.

“We were going to get our diplomas either way,” Sanborn said. “So in the end I really didn’t care.”

Dressed from head to toe in green — some with gold cords, white sashes and multicolor beads — the graduates grinned ear-to-ear as they marched down the center aisle at the 145th commencement ceremony.

An audience of family members and friends whistled and shouted in cheer for the 2013 graduates, as each crossed the threshold into the next chapter of life.

“I will always cherish Windsor and our years together,” said keynote speaker Terry Frey, a former teacher for the district. “Now as you go, please go and do the same, cherish what you’ve been given, cherish the memories and get our there and fill the world with Windsor.”

Frey was the Windsor chorus teacher for seven years, but relocated to Barre City Elementary School two years ago.

“He was very well known and well liked,” said Administrative Assistant Terri Hage.

“He was awesome and always there for the students,” salutatorian Grimo said. “He always joked around with us and would challenge us.”

Frey said it was humbling to be chosen as the commencement speaker and called it a “homecoming” of sorts.

“I love these kids,” Frey said. “When I left, I expected to come back more often, but was caught up. This is like homecoming.”

Guests were seated in floor seats, on surrounding bleachers and peered down from the track above. The high school band performed the processional and National Anthem, and the chorus sung Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root.

Also speaking last night was Superintendent of Schools David Baker, School Board Chairwoman Amy McMullen and valedictorian Elora Silver.

Silver said the Class of 2013 underwent many structural changes throughout its four high-school years, which didn’t make high school easy. Changes aside, she said each individual triumphed over the hardships.

“(We) endured more changes in four years than any other class,” she said, calling her class “guinea pigs.” “(But) we have persevered.“

The Class of 2013, along with other surrounding classes, underwent scheduling changes when the school moved to “a modified block scheduling” system, Principle Michael Kell said.

“We were, in 2010, identified as a Tier II school — as in ‘in need of improvement,’ ” Kell said, signifying moving forward with remediation.

“These guys went through a lot of changes,” Kell added.

Although a series of curve balls were thrown their way, Grimo said the class dealt with the adversities accordingly.

“We did not let high school get us, we conquered it,” he said. “And we are better people for doing so.”

In his address, Grimo held the attention of the audience with humorous flashbacks and up-to-date lingo. For example, he ended his speech in a series of hash tags, most popularly known for use in social media, such as on Instagram and Facebook.

Although he said he went through multiple hours of procrastination with writing a speech, he completed the task.

“Let’s get real for a moment,” he said, after a series of puns.

“High school sucks. The only thought running through your head is get me the hell out of here. (But) it is an important time for us,” he stated, adding “the class of 2013 is pretty impressive.

“As far as I’m concerned, the outlook for everyone here is looking very bright.”

Class of 2013:

Ben Anderson, Windsor, Hampshire College; Ashley Blake, Weathersfield, Community College of Vermont; Paige Bourne; Devon Boy, Windsor, Community College of Vermont; Drew Boy, Windsor, U.S. Air Force; Christopher Brooks, Cornish, Clinton Community College; Taylor Carroll, Windsor, work; Laurel Dana, Windsor, Community College of Vermont; Alex Delaney, Windsor, work; Ashlee Dimick, Windsor, Castleton State College; Jadie Dow, Windsor, Castleton State College; Nicole Dulac, Windsor, Colorado State University; Rowan Formichelli, Cornish, U.S. Air Force; Jonathan Gibson , Brownsville, work; Tucker Gilman, Windsor, University of Vermont; Ashley Godin, Weathersfield, U.S. Army; Matthew Grimo, Windsor, George Washington University; Philip Hill, Windsor, Castleton State College; Tierra Huntley, Windsor, College of St. Joseph; Alex Huppe, Windsor, work; Morgan Husband, Windsor, work; Nikki Kibling, Windsor, work; Brittany LeBeau, Windsor, University of Vermont; Rachel Meagher, Windsor, Quinnipiac University; Genevieve Michaud, Cornish, work; Meagan Moore, Cornish, River Valley Community College; Jaime Nolan, Windsor, Castleton State College; Aminah Orogi, Cornish, New England College; Leo Patenaude, Hartland, work; Erin Rice, Windsor, Wheelock College; Shawn Pinsonault, Brownsville, Castleton State College; Chase Sanborn, Windsor, River Valley Community College; Elora Silver, Windsor, University of Vermont; John Soho, Windsor, work; NaToshya Spaulding, Weathersfield, work; Nate St. Pierre, Cornish, U.S. Army; Luke TanCreti, Hartland, Norwich University; Nandy Thompson, Weathersfield, Lyndon State College; Tanner Tibbits, Windsor, College of St. Joseph; Rebecca Towne, Windsor, Keene State College; Taylor Tyminski, Cornish, River Valley Community College; Brittany Winter, Windsor, Castleton State College; Amber Mae Wood, Weathersfield, Community College of Vermont; Talia Ziccardi, Windsor, Castleton State College.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@gmail.com.

CORRECTION: This article has been amended to correct an earlier error. Amy McMullen is the chairwoman of the Windsor School Board. She was incorrectly identified in an earlier version of this story.

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Forty-three graduating seniors received their dipolomas during Windsor High School’s commencement in Windsor, Vt., on June 14, 2013. Valley News — James M. Patterson …