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Hanover High graduates urged to recall the ‘intangibles’

  • Hanover High School graduates Kaia Randolph, left, Katie Genzer, and Katie Stannard practice a dance they saw on Tik Tok before the start of their graduation ceremony on Friday, June 11, 2021 in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

  • Hanover High School graduates walk to their commencement ceremony on Friday, June 11, 2021 in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2021 1:20:46 AM
Modified: 6/12/2021 1:20:52 AM

HANOVER — As a theme for the past year, “acceptance” is hard to beat.

Hanover High School’s Class of 2021, which graduated under cloudy skies on the school’s football field Friday evening, accepted that they had to change their lives during the pandemic, graduation speaker Marie D’Amato said. And if more people could learn to accept and care for themselves, empathy would spread and acceptance would become universal, she said.

“I realize some of you will think it is ridiculous for me to believe that this will happen, but the reason I believe it is possible is because of all of you,” D’Amato, a longtime English teacher at Hanover, told the 174 graduates and their families and friends. “As you look forward to building your paper resumes, remember the intangibles that have made this year monumental.”

Hanover High made it through the school year without having to close down and resort to remote learning, Interim Principal Jim Logan said.

“I believe we did the best we could with what we had,” Logan said in opening the ceremonies. “It was our perfect.”

The ceremony followed many habits of the pandemic, with students wearing masks while sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the bleachers and the audience sitting grouped into pods.

Despite the heavy atmosphere of the past year, student speakers Tom Lyons, the master of ceremonies; Charles “CJ” Wheelan, who gave the student speech; and Minnue Uhm, who gave the farewell, kept things light.

Wheelan talked about trying out for sports he wasn’t any good at, but persevering through his nerves and discomfort.

“We must be willing and able to make that leap,” he said, adding that “no matter the outcome, you’ll be better for it.”

Uhm co-managed the class’s senior year game of Assassin, in which students take each other out with water pistols.

The game was a bright spot, he said.

“We believed in and hoped for a future that was unthinkable,” he said.

Tenor Gunnar Langhus sang Anthem from Chess the Musical, and soprano Kaia Randolph and tenor Johan Berendsen performed A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.

“I think of what that world could be, a vision of the one I see,” Randolph and Berendsen sang. “A million dreams is all it’s gonna take. A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.”

But it was D’Amato’s address that connected the personal to the universal.

She spoke of how she over-achieved as a student, but at the expense of self-acceptance.

“I made it my job to ensure my friends felt supported and accepted, but I never allowed anyone to get close enough to see how broken I was inside,” she said.

Her life began to change in 2004, when she got a dog, a yellow Lab named Happy, who gave her “pure, judgment-free love.”

She got to know her future spouse, a player on her women’s rec hockey team, when they walked their dogs together.

“The process of finding yourself is never-ending,” D’Amato said. She has made strides along that road and encouraged the graduates to follow. “My goal as a teacher and a human is to help you understand that you, too, are capable of infinite love, but you must start with yourself.”

Hanover High School’s Class of 2021:

Isaac Joseph Airey, Henry Aspinwall, Mitchell L Aspinwall, Jack A. Badams, Hallie Lorraine Baker, Eva Eliza Barta, Eamon Beliveau, Jonah Nathaniel Frowein Benjamin, Johan Byron Berendsen, Jonathan Quinn Biron Warren, Katherine Grace Blaisdell, Erik Blix, Camilla B Bobrowicz, Nathaniel Bowie, Sophia Brackett, Noah Johannes Bradley, Catherine Rose Bregou, Lauren Alexis Brock, Lucas Malcolm Brock, Sawyer Pawling Brown, Hannah Mason Burdick, Matthew Augusto Cabrejo, William Michael Cahoon, Owen Callahan, Torin Peter Callnan, Sophie Lawrence Caulfield, Natalie Anne Chapman, Jason Chou, Lily Colberg, Molly MacLaren Cole, Julia Cook, Indigo Xavier Coylewright, Siena Stefani Curtis, Jared YunDong Cutting, Catherine Elizabeth Daigle, Macy Demara, Emma Louise Dunbar, James D Eiler, William Alexander Ermarth, Isabel H Estes, Noah Tyler Fahey, Tobias Jay Faro, Daniel Frost, Emily Anne Gammell, Kate A Gasparro, Katherine Leah Genzer, Sage Gilbert-Diamond, Isabel Helen Goldblatt-Hamilton, Cecily Gladney Goodrum, Samuel Goodwin, Caroline J Graubert, Pierce Robert Hamlin, Jocelyn Grace Hazen, Charles Healy, Isabel Herz, Julia Love Horan, Jonathan Paul Hurd, Charlotte Jobe Johnson, Emilee Ahlgren Jones, Maurice C Kado, Hattie Matilda Kahl, Juli C Kang, Dylan Kotlowitz, Nathaniel David Krawitt, Sydney Charles Kwaku, Derek Lacy, Jackson P. Lake, Gunnar Lee Langhus, Maxfield James Larson, Matias Li-Yang Lee, Catherine A Lehmann, Jonathan Yuan Li, Sonja Lippman, James Jackson Liu, Rain Liu, Caroline Loescher, Connor Burke Loomis, Michaela Sand Loud, Wylie Lucas, Andrew Edward Lumley III, Rose Hanna Luttmer, Thomas Farnham Lyons, Ella G MacLean, Sierra Isabella Malo, Theodore Olivier Julien Roupinian Marceau, Sophia Alexandra May, Linus Janne Mayo, Quinn Gale McCaffery, Sage McGinley-Smith, Casey Pisani McGuire, Bridget Bass Meehan, Anika L Menkov, Stella Forbush Menkov, Carly Miles, Annika E Milliman, Soren Monroe-Anderson, Tucker Barrett Monson, Neal Paradis Montibello, Natalie Erin Morhun, Dominic Francis Movizzo, Nicoya Jade Mowbray-Parker, Emma Chauncey Neuman, Finn M Offensend, Astro Ichiro Ohnuma, Meredith Ellen Olenec, Zoe Nyamburi Onyango, Sonja Renee Peterson, Shayla Lynn Pham, Noah Chapman Phipps, Lauren Morgan Pidgeon, Daniel Pitiger, Michael Pitiger, Samuel J. Poisson, Sophia Ann Postans, Enna Prak, Kevin Thomas Purcell, Owen Martin Purcell, Alicia Radicioni, Kaia Randolph, Jordan Emmanuelle Gailgarmany Ray, Nika Taylor Renshaw, Riley Roach, Elinore Rickards Roberts, Alice Campbell Rodi, Kealin Grace Rooney, Rebekah Faith Rudd, Jason R. Rush, Theodore S. Ruth, Emma Juliet Sablan, Momoka Joy Schmidt, Gabriel R. Schroeder, Maggie Sheehan, Diego Silva, Brett Simmons, Kira N. Smith, Helah Sandra Snelling, Max Wolf Solberg, Catherine Somoza, Carsten Spaeth, Juliet Maeve St. Germain, Ellison M. Stannard, Katharine C. Stannard, Owen D. Stannard, Zoe Grace Starkey, Alexander John Stevens, William Bruce Stonier, Charlotte Day Sturm, Nathan Andrews Subrahmanian, Erin Noelle Surat-Mosher, Emma Abigail Taylor, Lucia Katherine Rose Taylor, Helen Rose Dustin Thompson, Jasmine Tracy, Roberto Henry Trimble, Brian Wang Tso, Minnue Uhm, Reilly Uiterwyk, Sophie Elizabeth Usherwood, Jayden Matthew Vaughan, Jyanna Lynn Vaughan, Miriam Rose Viazmenski, Louisa Lily Rose Voelkel, Benjamin Wagner, Jack Steele Watson, Charles J. Wheelan, Allison Julia Whitmore, Lyric Sage Wilson, Kara Wittmann, Lara Witwick, Brendan Michael Wolter, Eren Yaman, Max Zaslaw

Alex Hanson can be reached at or 603-727-3207.

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