Lebanon Class of ’24 prepared to ‘climb’ into the future

Chris Bates watches as his Lebanon High School classmates gather process to graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Chris Bates watches as his Lebanon High School classmates gather process to graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Lebanon High School Principal Ian Smith holds the sheet music of the Star Spangled Banner for saxophone trio, from left, Aiyana Sawyer, America Carmona Lucatero and Andrew Belk, during graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Smith came to their aid after a brief pause in the music when the wind blew the paper away. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon High School Principal Ian Smith holds the sheet music of the Star Spangled Banner for saxophone trio, from left, Aiyana Sawyer, America Carmona Lucatero and Andrew Belk, during graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Smith came to their aid after a brief pause in the music when the wind blew the paper away. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Allison Hovey peeks out of a hole in her poncho at her daughter, Lebanon High School senior Lydia Decato during Lebanon High School graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

Allison Hovey peeks out of a hole in her poncho at her daughter, Lebanon High School senior Lydia Decato during Lebanon High School graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. "I'm trying to make her smile beause she's crying up there," said Hovey. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Hannah Rich, left, reacts with friends Phoebe Ballard, middle, and Heidi Ahlgren, right, to the story of a sledding mishap that she took part in as told by classmate James Barnett during Lebanon High School graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Hannah Rich, left, reacts with friends Phoebe Ballard, middle, and Heidi Ahlgren, right, to the story of a sledding mishap that she took part in as told by classmate James Barnett during Lebanon High School graduation in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Salutatorian Sophie Longacre, left, and Valedictorian Wesley Johnson, right, lead the 144 graduates of the Lebanon High School class of 2024 out of the commencement ceremony in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Salutatorian Sophie Longacre, left, and Valedictorian Wesley Johnson, right, lead the 144 graduates of the Lebanon High School class of 2024 out of the commencement ceremony in Lebanon, N.H., on Thursday, June 6. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By CHRISTINA DOLAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 06-07-2024 9:03 AM

LEBANON — As dark clouds threatened rain, Principal Ian Smith announced that graduation would start a few minutes early and proceed at a “business-like” pace. But the forecast didn’t dampen the mood as Lebanon High School’s Class of 2024 was urged toward kindness and the courage to embrace the unknown.

James Barnett had been chosen by his classmates to emcee the program, and for the crowd of more than 400 friends and family gathered to celebrate, his enthusiasm was contagious. “That was awesome, Sophie!” he said after Salutatorian Sophie Longacre’s address.

Longacre, who is headed to Georgetown University in the fall, asked her classmates to remember the small things that have shaped them, especially the small kindnesses.

“I would not have wanted to spend the past four years with any other group of people,” she said.

Sydney DeShane was presented with the Spirit of LHS Award for exemplifying the values of the Lebanon High community. Counseling Department Assistant Michele Daigle praised DeShane, who will attend Boston University next year, for her grace, hard work and respect for others.

“Climb more mountains!” Valedictorian Wesley Johnson urged his classmates. Johnson will attend Renneslear Polytechnical Institute next year and is interested in math, science and engineering.

Social studies teacher and field hockey coach Amanda Valliere was selected by the seniors as their class speaker. She spoke of her love of teaching and joy of watching her students grow from bright and joyfully silly sophomores to mature leaders who have had a tremendous impact on the school.

“Find your team,” she said. “Choose to engage. Decide every day that you matter enough to care.”

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Farewell speaker Aavarika Niroula described coming to the United States from Nepal with her family for a short vacation only to find themselves stranded after a devastating earthquake in their home country.

“It is OK for things to change. Change is simply part of the journey,” she said. Niroula will attend St. Anselm College in the fall.

“This is a special class. They’ve really set the tone for the school being a good place to be,” Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Bonnie Robinson said before the ceremony.

“Mr. Smith always tells us to be good to people,” Niroula said.

As the new graduates processed from the stage, Noah Kahan’s “You’re Gonna Go Far” urged them toward a new chapter of their lives, a chapter that will take them away from the familiar, and will at times be difficult, but that they must embrace.

So, pack up your car, put a hand on your heart

Say whatever you feel,

be wherever you are

Christina Dolan can be reached at cdolan@vnews.com or 603-727-3208.

Class of 2024

Benjamin Achmoody, Boston University; Chase Adams, Ohio University; Heidi Ahlgren, Montana State University; Zachary Aldrich, Coastal Carolina University; Emma Allen, Husson University; Kyle Allgair, University of New Hampshire; Nolan Arado; Phoebe Ballard, Quinnipiac University; Hunter Banker; James Barnett, Colorado School of Mines; Conner Baslow; Christopher Bates; Andrew Belk, University of Arizona; Sarah Belk, University of California-San Diego; Kyah Bircher; Carson Boardman; Ava Boisvert; Jacob Bonenfant, University of New Hampshire; Abigail Braley, Husson University; Nicholas Brill, Seton Hall University; Nicholas Brooks, River Valley Community College; Shane Camp; Elizabeth Canaveral, Union College; Erika Canaveral, Union College; Isabelle Canaveral, Union College; America Carmona Lucatero, University of Arizona; Lea Castell, College of Charleston; Maddox Castro, University of Utah; Conner Chinn, Northeastern University; Jonathan Clary, Tulane University; Angelique Collins; Olivia Cook, Plymouth State University; Christian Cotting, University of New Hampshire; Abigail Crane, Furman University; Spencer Cunningham, New York University; Aria DeBanico, Wheaton College; Lydia Decato; Sydney DeShane, Boston University; Camille Dizon, Macalester College; Eain Dowling, University of Maine; Aiden Duprey; Olivia Emerson; Nicholas Engert, U.S. Air Force Academy; Jonathan Eylander, Western New England University; Norah Falcone, Quinnipiac University; Ayla Frye-Matte, Emerson College; Sydney Gallien; Nathan Gilbert; Dakota Gonser; Josephine Goodwin, University of Rhode Island; Rayna Graber, University of New Hampshire; William Grant, Plymouth State University; Taylor Guay; Mirele Gusmao; Simon Hall; Isabelle Hamilton, Lakes Regional Community College; Faith Hayman; Katherine Herring, Mount Holyoke College; Bennett Hewett, Clark University; Zoe Hill, University of New Hampshire; Sophie Hinman; Caroline Horak, Mount Holyoke College; Emily Howe, Lincoln Memorial University; Sarah Ippolito, College in the UK; Ryle Isuga, Dartmouth College; Madison Jewell, Emmanuel College; Wesley Johnson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Adaa Karanwal, University of Sterling; William Katz, Duke University; Daniel Keefe, University of New Hampshire; Ronni Kegelman, St. Joseph’s College of Maine; Taylor Kimball; Dakota Labonte-Flye, Plymouth State University; Carsyn Leeman, Quinnipiac University; Jackson Leland; Benjamin Lin, Dartmouth College; Sophie Longacre, Georgetown University; Alex Lopez; Addison Lowery; Angelina MacDonald, University of New Hampshire; Finley MacMartin, Coastal Carolina University; Caleb Martin; Olivia Martin; Cayden Matson, Plymouth State University; Conlyn Matson, Plymouth State University; Kylan Matson, U.S. Marine Corps; Ahniesa McAlpine, Concordia University; Acelin McIntyre; Damon McKenney; Luis Menezes; Colt Meyer; Sehan Moeykens, Norwich University; Padraig Mooney, Norwich University; Emma Moore, Plymouth State University; Henry Mulloy, Norwich University; Nitara Murray, Bridgewater State University; Landon Nadeau; Benjamin Nelson; Aavarika Niroula, Saint Anselm College; Malynn Paige; Talan Patkul, Stonehill College; Marin Pearson, University of Colorado-Boulder; Trevor Pierce, Manchester Community College; Olivia Pollard, Keene State College; Aidan Rafter; Joshua Read; Norah Reilly, Colby-Sawyer College; Gracie Rich, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Science; Hadley Rich, James Madison University; Hannah Rich, Quinnipiac University; Kayla Rickrode, University of New Hampshire; Abigail Ripley, Coastal Carolina University; Davis Rocke; Maria Ruas, Colby-Sawyer College; Izabella Rutherford, University of Connecticut; Aylah Salls; Sophia Salo, University of New Hampshire; Lexi Sanderson; Luis Savioli; Aiyana Sawyer, Saint Lawrence University; Gwyneth Schachtner, Saint Anselm College; Brenee Shipley, University of New Hampshire; Abigail Shores; Gabrielle Simione, Salisbury University; Bradlee Smith, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Troy Snide; Lindsey Stark, University of New Hampshire; Mykhaylo Starodubtsev, Concordia University; James Steen; Abigail Stone; Nicole Suckow, Brigham Young University-Idaho; Riley Sullivan, Temple University; Zachary Thornton, Clarkson University; Maya Tomlinson; Samuel Trussell, University of Washington; Benjamin Twarog, Montana State University; Isabel Vasquez, University of New Hampshire; Mitchell Wallace, Paul Smith’s College; Levi Wilmot, Colby-Sawyer College; and Lucas Zaki, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.