COHASSET — South Shore Vo-Tech’s 128 members of the Class of 2015 — including 36 from Whitman and Hanson — are ready for life’s new challenges.
There were 38 seniors whose MCAS scores qualified them for John and Abigail Adams Scholarships and two National Honor Society members among the graduates.
During the evening there were a few quips, both prepared and ad-libbed, joking about properly inflated sports equipment and snow days, as well as inventive embellishments aplenty to the basic mortar board, before the “victory cigars” were lit up by several graduates, both male and female, after the ceremonies.
“I’d like to congratulate the class one more time for the quality of their caps,” said Superintendent-Director Thomas Hickey. “The Class of 2016 definitely has to up their game.”
But it was readiness, and the journey involved in reaching it, that were recurrent themes of student and faculty speakers during commencement exercises held Friday, June 12 at South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset.
Hickey singled out seven seniors, during his remarks, who exemplify readiness through “essential character traits or habits of mind” demanded by the 21st century workforce:
• Savannah Andrade of Scituate showed positive attitude and energy can take one far — as she made team captain and was named a league All-Star despite playing on a basketball team that was winless over four years;
• Valedictorian Steven Lee of Abington and Hanson’s Mary Budding demonstrated the value of hard work out of the spotlight in favor of team success, as backstage members of the school’s Drama Club;
• Rachel DeQuinzio was lauded for her example of how valuable active listening is to building strong communication skills;
• Motivation was modeled by Dominic Varrasso of Hanover, who transferred to SSVT and “soaked up all the knowledge and experience” his carpentry and construction teachers could provide in just two years;
• Whitman’s Hunter Burt and Senior Class President John Griffith of Abington were honored for their personification of commitment and selflessness. Burt’s selflessness meant giving up his comfort zone as running back on the football team to step in for an injured teammate as quarterback. Griffith’s commitment to serving on the School Council in addition to other demands on his time was also admirable, Hickey said.
“It proves to me that our broader view of readiness is on the money,” Hickey said. “Starting tomorrow, these graduates move on to become our coworkers, teammates and community leaders.”
Student speakers, too, were mindful of what they have accomplished as they move to life’s next chapter.
“For a moment, try to remember walking into the cafeteria your first day,” said Lee in his valedictory. “It’s pretty funny to remember ourselves as a bunch of unsure and awkward freshmen, when we now sit here proudly as a bunch of confident and slightly awkward seniors.”
He traced the class’ growth from scared freshmen to uncertain sophomores who learned to become leaders as juniors who helped teach shop skills to a new class of freshmen and touched on their new status as “freshmen” in the next phase of their lives.
“We made it, but our lives are truly only just beginning,” Lee said. “Our future begins with today — and today we should be proud.”
But are they ready?
“Most people talk about how they cannot wait to leave high school,” said Griffith. “I thought I was ready, too, until I realized that my mom still makes my lunch every day and has to remind me to brush my teeth. Baby steps toward maturity, I guess.”
All joking aside, Griffith noted the teachers and staff at SSVT challenged them to become ready for “life after high school.”
Student Body President Shannon Arlin of Hanson also credited the Class of 2015 for the hard work they, too, put in over the past four years.
“Every day you came to school, ready and willing to learn something new,” Arlin said. “Every time you may have failed, you stood right back up. … Every challenge you faced and every success you have felt has brought you here today, and I don’t want any of you to forget that.”
Hanson graduates: James Andrasy, Shannon Arlin, Devin Bevilacqua, Mary Budden, Cassandra Cantwell, Michael Hayes, Adam Hirst, Simone Lagsdin, Matthew Lynch, Jessica McAndrew, Robin Murray, Bradley Parker, Michael Pelrine, Justin Robertson, Nicole Sammon, Anthony Spicuzza, Joseph Taylor, Sydney Tracy, Trevor Verity.
Whitman graduates: Alyssa Alden, Cameron Alden, Austin Barry, Hunter Burt, Tyler DeZutter, Ryan Getzinger, Corienne Gianunzio, Joshua Holmes Weaver, Eric Jarvinen, Alexandria Joseph, Damon Krause, Andrew Laiweneek, Paul McElroy, Adam Silveri, Jacob Simmons, Brandon Teixeira and Nicholas Varrasso.
Photos from the event can be viewed on the Whitman-Hanson Express Facebook page.