Newport graduates urged to try new things

Ali Cunningham, right, of Newport, N.H., kisses her daughter Ciara Jaco on the cheek before her graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport on Thursday, June 15, 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.

Ali Cunningham, right, of Newport, N.H., kisses her daughter Ciara Jaco on the cheek before her graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport on Thursday, June 15, 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. Alex Driehaus

Members of the class of 2023 cheer before their graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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.

Members of the class of 2023 cheer before their graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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. Alex Driehaus

Kentin Rowell rests in the grass before his graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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.

Kentin Rowell rests in the grass before his graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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. Alex Driehaus

Julie O’Neill, left, and Kelsey Carmichael show off their coordinated “Finding Nemo” mortar boards before their graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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.

Julie O’Neill, left, and Kelsey Carmichael show off their coordinated “Finding Nemo” mortar boards before their graduation ceremony at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 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. Alex Driehaus

Newport sophomore Mallory Cornish, left, stands next to freshman Chloe Greenwood , clad in a blow-up Tyrannosaurus rex costume as they wait for graduates to process in at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 2023. Greenwood’s cousin was graduating and she said the costume is a kind of tradition for him. (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.

Newport sophomore Mallory Cornish, left, stands next to freshman Chloe Greenwood , clad in a blow-up Tyrannosaurus rex costume as they wait for graduates to process in at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., on Thursday, June 15, 2023. Greenwood’s cousin was graduating and she said the costume is a kind of tradition for him. (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. Alex Driehaus

By PATRICK O’GRADY

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 06-15-2023 9:38 PM

NEWPORT — The Newport Class of 2023 waited out a day of rain for graduation and was rewarded with sunny skies to celebrate their achievement before family and friends on the high school football field on Thursday evening.

The ceremony’s speakers described the lessons learned during high school that can carry them into the future and the importance of thanking those who helped them along the way.

Valedictorian Eric Wilkinson said he and his classmates encountered a few obstacles these last four years, including COVID-19, but they persevered to reach this achievement, thanks in large part to the “wonderful teachers, coaches, councilors, etc. to help guide us through the difficult journey.”

Wilkinson thanked his parents for urging him to always do his best, and his friends who made the journey fun and memorable.

He singled out teachers who taught him valuable lessons beyond the classroom including finding a passion in life, remembering to smile and enjoy himself when life is hard, tedious and not much fun and to live in a way that makes great memories.

“My fellow classmates, I urge you to take their advice as well. Find something you love doing that you can be passionate about, and do it. When things get difficult, find ways to make things fun and laugh. And live in a way such that you make memories that you can be happy to look back on.

So find people who can guide you, who can teach you how to live your best life,” Wilkinson continued. “This can be teachers, professors, coaches, or family. There are plenty of people who can help you. Find them, and learn from them.”

Class president and Salutatorian Timothy Fratzel said he slowly learned in high school to discard his habit of always playing it safe and decided to begin trying new things.

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“In all of my wisdom I believe the best lesson I’ve learned over the past four years is the power of trying new things,” Fratzel began, telling his audience that going with what works all the time “keeps you isolated from so many other possibilities that you could enjoy even more.

“Trying new things can be fun and exciting,” Fratzel said. “Classmates and others listening, I really truly think you should follow my example. Maybe you’ll realize you enjoy knitting after trying it out. Maybe you’ll meet new friends. Maybe you’ll even learn new things about yourself or life lessons that you can put into effect to better yourself. All of this is very possible simply by trying new things. You never know what things in life you might actually enjoy until you give them a try.”

Class essayist Darren Janicke first thanked his teachers and those in the audience who have supported the graduates the last four years. He then related a personal story about his failed campaign for class secretary his freshman year followed by his election as class vice president the following year. Close friends helped him emerge from being nervous and awkward in social settings as a freshman to a person at ease with himself and others.

“As I take a look at myself today, I can truly say that I have grown, learning numerous valuable lessons from my peers that I will take with me throughout the rest of my life,” Janicke said.

He then suggested his classmates reflect on obstacles they overcame and the people who helped them to grow.

“As we take our next step in life, I want you to remember the valuable lessons that your peers have taught you within the last four years,” Janicke said. “They will help you greatly as the lessons I learned from my friends did for me. So, carry these lessons close to you as we move into adulthood, and never forget them.”

Before officially announcing the class as high school graduates, SAU 43 Superintendent Donna Magoon told them it was a day to celebrate their hard work, dedication and commitment to their education.

“As you move forward, remember that education does not end with a diploma,” Magoon said. “It is a lifelong pursuit. Continue to seek knowledge, challenge yourself and never stop learning. Embrace curiosity. You will find fulfillment and make a positive impact on the world.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.

Newport High School Class of 2023:

Destiny Latoya Adair; Madison Elizabeth Aldrich; Jalyn Rose Baker; Danielle Elizabeth Beard; Owen Davis Beaulieu; Sierra Bettelyoun; William Bohn; Lauren Brooke Bublat; Victor Siqueira Calumbi; Kelsey Jean Carmichael; Tyler Michael Currier; Ashley Celeste Cybruch; Gary Allen Dodge Jr.; Brayden Daniel Donth; Stephen Everett Emery; Michael Leo Faucher; Elijah Keydon Florence; Timothy Monroe Fratzel; Tyler Allen Gobin; Jessica Jean Grifone; Jadyn Alys Griggs; Angelina Elizabeth Hagar; Nathan Alexander Hebert; Ciara Marie Jaco; Darren Parker Janicke; Brooke Grace Johnson; Hannah Paige Johnson; Jaden Leo Kangas; Kayden Scott LaClair; Sarad Little; Makyi Isiah Matheson; Wesley Mitchell Maynard; Austin Dale Merrigan; Olivia Faith Moody; Geoffrey Michael Morrie; Gabriel Edward Nerenburg; Madyson Jean-Louise Norris; Julie Anna O'Neill; Isabella Virginia Osgood; Alexis Rose Ouellette; Amanda Lee Page; Aura Parker; Roman Ali Parker; Tyler Jacob Patenaude; Karter Joseph Pollari; Mason Richard Prouty; Patrick Regan; Anson Moryan Ritondo; Everett Robertson; Kentin Roderick Rowell; Jack Taylor Simard; Matthew Joseph Simard; Thomas R. Spiker; Arthur Richard Stanley; Elizabeth Marie Surrell; Lauryn Exelia Thorson; Eric James Wilkinson; Kamryn Mikayla Willey; Kirsten Ann Williams