Hanover High graduates shaped by unstructured moments

Lyra Bornholdt-Collins, left, and Locky McCann sing together as they wait for their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lyra Bornholdt-Collins, left, and Locky McCann sing together as they wait for their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America — Alex Driehaus

Montana Hanchett, right, crouches so Natalie Cutting can help him adjust his mortar board before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Montana Hanchett, right, crouches so Natalie Cutting can help him adjust his mortar board before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Graduates make final adjustments to their caps and gowns as they walk toward the gym before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Graduates make final adjustments to their caps and gowns as they walk toward the gym before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News / Report For America photographs — Alex Driehaus

Amina Ajwang, center, greets her classmates as they find their seats before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Amina Ajwang, center, greets her classmates as they find their seats before their graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Allison Winchester, right, tries to get the attention of her daughter Ava Winchester to take a photo before her graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Allison Winchester, right, tries to get the attention of her daughter Ava Winchester to take a photo before her graduation ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 9, 2023. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

By ALEX HANSON

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-12-2023 9:07 AM

HANOVER — Rain forced the Hanover High School commencement ceremony into the school gym.

But that was OK; the Class of 2023 is used to making the best of it, Principal Julie Stevenson told the assembly after the 159 seniors, all in maroon caps and gowns, had filed in to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

At Hanover, the graduating class designs the commencement ceremony, and this year’s began with the introduction of Patrick Elder, the master of ceremonies and a fourth-generation Hanover High student.

“I think I can speak for the Class of 2023 by saying thanks to our siblings, parents, teachers” and a long list of people ending with “that one person who saw a crowd forming and decided to join in.”

Riley Chin played Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64, accompanied by Jeanne Chambers, then Elder introduced Mack Levy, the graduation speaker.

Famous for leaving his car running all day in the school parking lot not once, not twice but three times during his high school career, Levy talked about a note he received that encouraged him not to give up his tilt toward quiet, complex and random experiences in favor of the presumably more effective linearity, expediency and efficiency.

“The things that we chose to do together during those unstructured moments made us who we are,” Levy said.

Finley Thomas sang and Luca Cardenali played on guitar the classic Fleetwood Mac song “Landslide,” which bears the lines “children get older and I’m getting older, too.”

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This seemed to lead naturally to English teacher Brent Concilio’s speech about uncertainty and what it means to be an adult.

“I think we can all agree that since COVID, time has been weird,” he began. He gave the commencement address four years ago, but said it “might as well be a lifetime ago.”

One of the hallmarks of stepping into the wider world is making decisions, some of them quite significant, without knowing how things will work out.

“Don’t behave as though you have total control over your future,” he said. “You don’t.”

But what the graduates can control is how they treat other people. They can choose to patient and kind and to help meet the needs of other people, which is the essence of what it means to be an adult.

The graduates’ names were read out and they filed across the gym to applause. But only after a performance by the Footnotes, a school choir, and a farewell address from classmate Jackson Watts, whom Elder called Professor Watts, did they turn their tassels from right to left and toss their caps in the air.

Watts, too, received a note, this one from his father, at the start of senior year, urging him to savor it, to remember that he would not pass this way again.

“It feels weird to know that these are the last few moments that we’ll be together in this place,” Watts said, adding “we can never return to the way things are today.”

And then they filed back out of the gym, into the light rain to which they’ve grown accustomed.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3207.

Hanover High School Class of 2023

Amina Ajwang, Jase Alderdice, Matt Alexandrescu, Maria Anderson, Cade Arnold, Kieran Artman, Britta Arvold, Forrester Avard, Lilly Bergmeier, Bonnie Blake, Nathan Blatman, Sophee Bolg, Cam Bonner, Hannah Boone, Lyra Bornholdt-Collins, Alex Brackett, Jen Branch, Riley Brooks, Luca Cardenali, Nell Casey, Berkeley Chamberlain, Zoe Chamberlain, Riley Chin, Kevin Chou, Jayden Chu, Lilly Clapp, June Clark, Grace Clerkin, Julian Correa, Sofia Cosentino, Ashley Cotter, Grace Coughlin, Aidan Cronan, Maeve Crowley, Natalie Cutting, Noah Day, Jay De Jesus, Kai Doron, Finn Duncan, Jud Dunne, Lauren Eiler, Patrick Elder, Erin Fielder, Caitlin Fillinger, Cam Forbush, Meg Frost, Lucy Furch, Stella Galanes, Jack Gardner, Joy Garner, Elijah Geoghegan, Adam Gilbert-Diamond, Katherine Goodrum, Gil Gordon, Seth Graubert, Jhala Gregory, Celia Groves, Gray Guerin, Josephine Hall, Lauren Hall, Sarah Hall, Montana Hanchett, Casey Havrda, Carter Hawke, Jaclyn Hazen, Caroline Healy, Sadie Higgins, Greta Holland, Reece Hurst, Rowen Hutchins, Alex Huyser, Finley Jones, Dylan Jopp, Theo Joseph, Maks Kealey, Xavier Khan, Kiara King, Augie Krawitt, Layne Kull, Brendan Kwaku, Avyn Lee, Mack Levy, Audrey Lewellen, Janina Li, Mackenzie Liu, Reilly Loughman, Billy Lyons, Mia Madden, Aaron Matthew, Elsa May, Locky McCann, Amelia McCurdy, Becket McCurdy, Kali McDonnell, M. McFetridge; Jack McGrath, Riley McGuire, Sharise Meacham-Snyder, Anna Meretei, Tom Mosdal, Ethan Munson, Clem Newbold, Ty Nolon, Sara Nulton, Maxx O’Connell-Robles, Daisy Onyango, Jon Oriol, Dillon Penders, Emily Perras, Seiji Peterson, Britney Pham, Olivia Phipps, Simon Phipps, Darien Ray, Maddie Reed, Henry Richardson, Ann Rightmire, Rebecca Robinson, Ben Ruth, Nina Sablan, Sam Sacerdote, Lili Samwick, Andres Savellano, Daniel Schaner, Mary Scherer, Vidushi Sharma, Mandi Shi, Sora Shirai, Samantha Simmons, Bryn Simpkins, Wyatt Sklarin, Lucie Smiga-McManus, Ian Smith, Owen Smith, Ian Solberg, Noura St. Hilaire, Soren Stettenheim, Izak Struthers, Luke Szczepiorkowski, Simon Taenzer, Freddie Tagupa, Nariya Tanoukhi-Bell, Daniel Tate, Will Taylor, Lily Thaler Wellborn, Fin Thomas, Emilia Torresani, Sophie Tullar, Kate Valentino, Sophia Wainwright, Scarlett Wallace, Jackson Watts, Luke Welder, Audrey Williams, Ava Winchester, Liam Worden, Mollee Ye and Ella Zinman.