Published in the June 8, 2017 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The threat of pop up thunderstorms didn’t stop the Lynnfield High School Class of 2017 from celebrating a promising future, as 152 members of the graduating class bade adieu to their high school careers and took the next step forward on June 2.
The 58th graduating class in school history basked in the glory of its accomplishments during commencement exercises held in the high school gym for the first time since 2013. During the ceremony, High School Assistant Principal Brian Bates filled in for Principal Bob Cleary, who was celebrating his daughter’s graduation.
The LHS Concert Band kicked off the ceremony by performing “Pomp and Circumstance” by Elgar under the direction of Band Director Tom Westmoreland. The Chamber Singers followed by performing the “National Anthem,” under the direction of LHS Choral Director Douglas Hodgkins.
A monumental accomplishment
Student Council President Abigail Dickey welcomed members of the Class of 2017, their parents, family members, school officials and faculty members to the 58th commencement ceremony.
“As students, very rarely are we feeling the same emotions, but right now we can all share the feeling of accomplishment as we become the Lynnfield High School graduating Class of 2017,” said Dickey.
Dickey said the Class of 2017 “did not achieve this accomplishment alone.”
“To the faculty of the entire Lynnfield district, thank you for putting in countless hours to get us here today,” said Dickey. “From teaching us the basics of reading and writing, how to tie our shoes, arithmetic, the history of Mesopotamia, making sense of psychology, completing the rigorous junior year research paper, and filling out our college applications, we are so thankful. To our parents and family, our gratitude to you can never be put into words; you have dedicated the last 18 years of your life to make sure we have the best chance to succeed.”
Dickey concluded her remarks by asking the Class of 2017 to look to the left and right.
“The people you see around you have helped to morph you into the person that you are today,” said Dickey. “We will remember the good times we have spent together and cherish them as we move on to the next phase of our life.”
Class character lauded
Bates provided some brief remarks after Dickey’s speech. He thanked the Class of 2017 for making his first year at LHS incredibly enjoyable.
“The Class of 2017 has a lot of great qualities, but the one that truly defines them is their character,” said Bates. “At the beginning of the school year, we speak to the senior class about their responsibilities as role models, especially to underclass members. This class has done a tremendous job in their roles as leaders both in and out of the building. Throughout senior week, we have heard constant praise from people about how classy and just plain nice the Class of 2017 is. I am confident the Class of 2017 will be successful in whatever they choose to do.”
A strong foundation set
Class of 2017 Valedictorian Caroline Buckley gave the valedictory address during the 58th LHS graduation.
Buckley said it “feels like yesterday (when) we were all stepping through the doors of Lynnfield High School for the first time as wide-eyed freshmen” who were “nervous about what the next four years would bring.”
“We were all young and naive, and high school was a daunting hurdle in front of us that we each had to find a way to clear,” said Buckley. “Most of us were scared of messing up, embarrassing ourselves, and making mistakes along the way both in and out of the classroom. Back in 2013, we knew we had a long road ahead of us, each day believing that 2017 was so far into the future that we would never be seniors; let alone be sitting in the chairs that we are today, prepared to walk across this stage, about to land confidently on the opposite side of the hurdle.”
Buckley said the Class of 2017 has “come together, grown and matured” over the past 12 years, which she said was made possible by the support the graduates received from parents, family, friends, teachers and school officials. She said the “foundation you have all provided us with during our time at Lynnfield High School has ensured our future success wherever we may end up.”
In closing, Buckley encouraged her fellow graduates not to be fearful of the future.
“We must be confident in ourselves and our abilities, and approach every new situation with a level of poise and persistence that inhibits fear from convincing us to turn around,” said Buckley. “Ultimately, the mistakes that we make are what builds our character and make us stronger individuals. Without them, we are unable to reach our full potential.”
Senior Class President Lilli Patterson presented the senior class gift to Class of 2018 President Alexandra Ross. The class gift is a Pioneer flag for the LHS stadium field.
Ross thanked the Class of 2017 for the gift and wished the 152 graduates “the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Lynnfield Bubble popped
After the LHS Concert Band, Senior Chorus and Chamber Singers performed a cover of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll be There,” Patterson offered remarks to the Class of 2017.
Patterson said, “It truly is emotional to think that this is the last time we will all be together.” She recalled reading “The Monster at the End of this Book” in Maryellen Iannibelli’s English class the first day of senior year.
“She used ‘lovable furry old Grover’ to demonstrate that this children’s book was essentially a metaphor for our senior year,” said Patterson. “Grover spends the whole book growing anxious because every time the reader turns another page, he or she is getting closer to ‘the monster.’ However, in the end, Grover realizes that he himself is the monster and that he had worried himself over nothing. I feel as if we all started our senior year with the same mindset and fear as Grover. We were so stressed about meeting application deadlines, and very worried about pending acceptances. But if we take a moment to look back at these past 275 days, we too would realize that senior year was not as bad of a monster as we had anticipated.”
Patterson said the Class of 2017 has “conquered our monster.” She also said the “Lynnfield Bubble…is officially about to pop.”
“We are leaving the bubble to enter a world much larger than our class of 152 people,” said Patterson. “It is our time to start anew. It will not matter what your class rank is, what class you almost failed, what car you drove, who you went to the prom with, or what party you were not invited to. Once we leave today, we will need to prove ourselves again. I wish for us all to embrace this change, because LHS has undoubtedly prepared us for whatever is to come next.”
Make a positive impact
After Patterson concluded her remarks, Superintendent Jane Tremblay offered some brief remarks before bidding farewell to the Class of 2017.
Tremblay said she has been “truly honored” to witness the Class of 2017’s journey the past 13 years. She recalled meeting members of the graduating class as kindergarteners, and said the graduates were “filled with endless promise and boundless curiosity for what was ahead.”
“The time has come for you to take your grown, confident version of your five-year-old self and go put your footprint on this big, beautiful, complicated world,” said Tremblay. “You see, we need you; we need your generation, to act as role models and represent all that is good and positive in this world. It is imperative that you always care more about the well being of others than you care about yourself.”
End of an era
School Committee Chairman Tim Doyle awarded diplomas to the 152 graduates with the assistance of Bates and Tremblay.
After the graduates received their diplomas and Bates wished the graduates well as they begin the next chapter of their lives, the Class of 2017 threw their mortarboards in the air, officially marking the end of their Lynnfield High School careers.