Leaving the Nest: Rivendell Academy Graduates 29
Rivendell Academy graduates take photographs of each other before their commencement in Orford, N.H., on June 14, 2014.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
Passing time before the start of their commencement ceremony from left, Scott Calhoun, Luke Bell, Josh Marshall, Nate Eastman, and Cole Stever have a game of Texas hold'em poker.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck
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Orford — Keri Gelenian, Rivendell Academy’s head of school and principal, urged the members of Saturday’s graduating class to feel free to return to the school in the coming years.
He and the staff want to know about them, he said.
“Come and share your experiences with the young Raptors and the old Raptors that you’re leaving behind,” he told the 29 graduates next to him on the stage.
Dean of students Michael Galli even said the key to the school would be left under the mat for them. He recalled noting that something was different around the Rivendell campus with the arrival of the 2014 graduating class.
“Something changed, you could feel it — more light, more optimism,” Galli said.
For example, he said, when it was learned that the class, due to snow days off over the winter, would come up one day short this year of the required minimum attendance, Galli said Gelenian told him not to worry, that the seniors would show up at school on a scheduled day off to make up the time, which they did.
Valedictorian Richard Otis displayed some of the math skills he acquired during his years in the Rivendell system, calculating that for some students it had been 5,183 days since they started pre-school classes on route to the “sweeping story” that would be their high school years.
Salutatorian Megan Perkins looked backward, as well, to the days when she and her classmates were “scared kindergartners” just preparing to “take that next step into the future.”
“Speeches are not something I enjoy, but I didn’t want to miss this final opportunity” to talk to the class, said Perkins, adding that she recently chose a favorite word, “ubiquitous.”
That works, she said, to describe the myriad and vital encounters with “small stuff” we all experience in life.
“Appreciate the little things,” she advised her fellow-graduates. “They’re fundamental to our life’s contentment.”
Language arts teacher Eric Reichert has been on the academy staff since the school’s founding in 2000. He opened his address to the class by thanking Bob Thatcher for his total of about four decades in Orford as a coach and athletic director, and for his and his wife, Nancy Thatcher’s, continuing devotion to students at Rivendell and before that at Orford High School.
Superintendent Brenda Needham opened commencement, referring to it as a “special and important event of accomplishment and pride.”
School counselor Nancy Hall delivered closing remarks, and the academy’s chorus, under the direction of Anna Alden, helped open the event, and later sang Safe and Sound and I Was Here.
Bob Hookway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASS OF 2014
Nicole Bates, Plymouth State University; Lukas Bell, University of New Hampshire; Scott Calhoun, Oklahoma State University; Tara Collins, Lebanon College; Courtney Covey, University of Rhode Island; Devanne DeFelice, Harrisburg Area Community College; Bryanne Dempsey, Husson University; Nathaniel Eastman, University of Maryland; Ryan Fauci, University of Vermont; Keisha Garrow, Employment (Subway Restaurants); Dylan Goodale, US Marines; Courtney Goodrich, Lyndon State College; Andrea Haehnel, Utah State University; Andrew Harris, Gap year; Ethan Jayne, Community College of Vermont; Joshua Marshall, Ithaca College; Richard Otis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Brendan Partington, Johnson State College; Megan Perkins, St. Lawrence University; Miranda Piper, Endicott College; Sydny Ricker, Gap year; Hanna Rockwell, University of New England; Kahlee Sargent, Community College of Vermont; Danielle Smith, Colby-Sawyer College; Hannah Smith, Plymouth State University; Cole Stever, Norwich University; Tyler Wertman, Employment (Hannaford Brothers Company); Katharina Westrup, return to Germany to complete school; Cody Williams, U.S. Marine Corps; Megan Winagle, Quinnipiac University