An end and a beginning for the Hanover High Class of ’24

Ellie McCrave, left, and Ondine Bailey hug after walking across the stage and receiving their diplomas during their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Ellie McCrave, left, and Ondine Bailey hug after walking across the stage and receiving their diplomas during their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

English and social studies educational assistant Carol Ahern, center, cheers with fellow staff members while graduates process into their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

English and social studies educational assistant Carol Ahern, center, cheers with fellow staff members while graduates process into their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Mateo Trimble, right, leans out the door while waiting with his classmates to process into their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Mateo Trimble, right, leans out the door while waiting with his classmates to process into their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Graduates listen to a speech by social studies teacher Pamala Custer during their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Graduates listen to a speech by social studies teacher Pamala Custer during their commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Ada Calloway, left, hugs her mother, art teacher Sarah Glass, after receiving her diploma during her commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Ada Calloway, left, hugs her mother, art teacher Sarah Glass, after receiving her diploma during her commencement ceremony at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Valley News - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

By ALEX HANSON

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-15-2024 7:36 AM

HANOVER — Education is a series of expanding horizons. Students do their work, fail or succeed, move forward and repeat the process all over again.

“The human condition is complex,” Hanover High School Principal Julie Stevenson said at the start of the school’s commencement ceremony Friday evening.

With the graduates gathered at the 50-yard-line of the turf field behind the school, and the rain holding off, a series of speakers described how they made their voyages out.

“My hope is that we educated these graduates to prepare them … better than those who came before them,” Stevenson said before handing things over to Theo Burdick, the evening’s master of ceremonies. His first order of business was to ask his fellow seniors and their friends and family to give “the loudest round of applause of the night for the sensational teaching staff” sitting in the bleachers behind him.

After a performance of Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell” by senior violinists Amica Lansigan and Oscar Solberg and violist Joshua Stearns, Kiran Park gave the graduation address, and spoke about some of the more humbling moments of her high school career.

Arriving as a freshman after attending Lyme School, Park felt certain she would make the varsity soccer team, but it didn’t work out that way, and finding out she’d be playing JV soccer “felt like a blow to the gut.” As a sophomore she reached up to take teacher Pamala Custer’s Geopolitics class, typically for juniors. Social studies is Park’s specialty, and she thought she’d do well, but again, she struggled, earning a C- on her final project.

As a junior, she attended the Mountain School, in Vershire, where her parents had met. She hoped to capture some of their magic, but found herself in a funk and feeling far from home.

“I had never spent so much time away from the Upper Valley,” she said.

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But spring came and she found her way out onto the school’s sylvan campus after cooping herself up in her room.

“There was a world beyond it from which I had been holding myself back,” she said.

Senior Sayan Battacharya played the Harold Arlen classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the piano.

The guest speaker was Custer, the social studies teacher Park had tried so hard to please. After an acknowledgment that the land they were on “is part of a sovereign indigenous nation,” Custer praised the graduates: “Last week you pulled off the best senior prank” in her 27 years teaching at Hanover.

The class staged an elaborate mock wedding in the school’s atrium that filled the space. “You drew people in with lots of laughter,” she said.

Adults attending graduations remember what it was like for them. Custer knew early on she’d be a teacher, and taught her younger sister to read. They went to the library together once a week and took out the maximum 10 books. Custer was the first in her family to attend college, after a guidance counselor suggested it to her, and her sister joined the Navy. That could have been a difficult decision, as her sister was gay at a time when the military dishonorably discharged homosexual members. But she hid that aspect of her identity, and rose to a position of leadership. She believed in a better America than the one she was serving, Custer said.

“My sister is my unsung hero, because she went to work every day calling people in,” Custer said.

The graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, and Burdick praised the 174 graduates for not tripping before asking them to move their tassels from right to left. The school’s Footnotes vocal ensemble sang “Underneath the Stars.”

Senior Peter Stover gave a brief, but deceptively profound farewell to his classmates. As a ski racer he was always urged to look to the next gate, and that advice is often mirrored in daily life. “We spent a lot of time looking past the end of high school,” he said. “Each year of school,” he added, “seemed like another step forward.”

“It might be a good strategy for winning a race, but it’s a terrible way to live,” he said. Graduation is an end and a beginning, he added, but it’s also a moment. “Think about what is. Live in the space in between.”

The horizons, of course, will always be there.

Hanover High School Class of 2024

Anna Krysia Aaron; Jasmine Acker; Virginia Jane Adams; Jason Blessing Adinortey; Jan Hector Aguilar-Hwang; Brooke Marie Allen; Paul Augustus Ashton; Mia Lock Bagnato; Ondine Isabella Bailey; Ophelia Rose Barthel; Sayan Bhattacharya; Carys Elizabeth Bickford; Christian Jon Blix; Blake Andrew Bouchard; Aidan Patrick Bradley; Rosa Noelle Bradley; Noah Fox Branchflower; Avery Jordan Brooks; Ava Catherine Bucci; Noah Preston Burdick; Theodore Allan Burdick; Caleb Nolan Buskey; Andrew Lee Cahoon; Samuel Hong Calderwood; Ada Elizabeth Callaway; Abby Reese Campfield; Emma Elizabeth Campfield; James Vincent Chafouleas; Michael Ren Cheng; August Elizabeth Chu; Annabel May Clark; Jane Vivian Mirabel Cowie; Michael James Crandell; Tessa Francis Cullen; Talia Emiko Daft; Andrew Macdonald Davis; Jennette Beatrice Davis; Tito Manuel De Jesus; Justin Thomas Dickson; Felix Herman DiGeorge; George Zidane Dominiak; Patrick Oliver Donegan; Emilia May Elder; Lexi Marie Feldman; Liam James Foston; Katharine Grace Garr; Finn Tasman Gleeson; LucianJacob Gleiser; Noah Ian Atticus Glenney; Sarah Robin Glueck; Adam John Goodney; Cassidy Ames Goodwin; Kaleb Edward Gray; Carter Lyle Guerin; Will Arsene Guerin; Jada Braxton Guess; Lydia Mae Hansberry; Arden Oaksford Hawley; Ryder Chile Hayes; Anna Carmel Healey; Zeus Hernandez Palos; Cloe Renee Lyn Hinck; Eli Dov Hoffer; Stephanie Corinne Holmes; Erica Brooke Holmes; Ava Mangalee Holthoff; Bella Emma Hunt; Carson Keen Jaacks; Phoebe Violet Rose Jenney; Michael Ding Jia; Jerry Jia; Sage McLean Johnson; Nels Jones; Margaret Stone Keeffe; Rosie Keith; Liam Jonah Kelly-Thompson; Erin Margaret Kirkpatrick; Lily Marie Kleber; Kali Genevieve Knabe; Claire Jeanine Kull; Wyatt Daniel Lake; Brandon Gregory Landgraf; Amica Kay Lansigan; Maeve Elizabeth Lee; Emma Jane Letendre; Trevor Charles Lichtenstein; Jessica Erin Lobb; Sam Rawlins Loescher; Roger Cornelius Lucas; Evelyn Franziska Maitre; Daniel John Markwood; Nina Renee Marshall; Tara Marie Marshall; Joaquin Amir Martin; Jackson Hunter McBride; Ellie Mae McCrave; Alexander Yongxiang McGrath; Sydney Rose McLaughlin; Frederick Matteo Mierke; Elena Francesca Mierke; Gabe Mucha; Grace Susanna Munroe; Aaron Benjamin Nyhan; Meghan Althea O’Hern; Jack Law Olmstead; Charleigh Burns Olmstead; Nicholas Alexander Pais; Bryan Stokes Palmer; Bennet Jay Palmer; Kiran Lee Park; William Blackwell Parker; Kavi Bharat Patel; Veer Bharat Patel; Zachary Evan Pearson; Reanna Andrea Phillips-Whyte; Devon James Pleger; Aiden David Powell; Jan Lind Press; Anya Marie Raley; Joss Leigh-James Ray; Nicholas William Malcolm Reiss; Jolie Reznek; Madison Elizabeth Roberts; Tristan James Robles; Shayna Bess Rockmore; Joseph Kenneth Rudd; Owen Francis Ryan; Raelynn Salvatoriello; Sydney Jean Sandor; Daniel Phillip Schaner; Wyatt Seelig; Rory Rebecca Seelig; Dylan Michael Thomas Shafer; Eva Marie Simpson; Iver Neil Skogerboe; Sean Michael Smith; Oscar Marc Solberg; Claire Frances Somoza; Skylar Katherine Spiro; Alexandra Julia Stanton-Pierce; Joshua Roger Stearns; Riley Juliana Stone; Charlotte Judith Stone; Julia Rose Stonier; Peter Matthew Stover; Teddy Walker Sumner; Isabel Honor Taxman; Anya Rose Teller-Elsberg; Davey Cruz Tolliday; Matthew David Tomeny; Jacob Paul Toulmin; Zachary James Tracy; Mateo Sebastian Gomez Trimble; Em Trottier; Windser Morton Tuttle; Rhea Godha Veerareddy; Jeffrey Elliot Vidou; Ayla Elise Wager; Savannah Rae Walczak; John Alexander Walker; Joshua Dudley Warner; Atlas Warren-Lutes; Lily Alice Weinstein Terry; Henry Gearhart Werner; Jack MacSweeney Wilkinson; Sophie Jane Wise; Stephen Daniel Wiwick; Benjamin Sander Woods; HyunseoYi; Jinseo Yi; Rui Zhang; and Caleb David Zuckerman.