Published in the June 6, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — Not even the sometimes-threatening clouds over Pioneer Stadium could get in the way of a great celebration as 156 members of the Lynnfield High Class of 2018 collected their diplomas on June 1.

The 59th graduating class in school history basked in the glory of its accomplishments during commencement exercises. Similar to last year’s ceremony, High School Assistant Principal Brian Bates filled in for Principal Bob Cleary, who was celebrating his daughter’s graduation.

The Class of 2018, with family, friends and other well-wishers looking on, entered the sparkling athletic facility at the high school to the familiar processional “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by the Lynnfield High Concert Band under the direction of Thomas Westmoreland. The Chamber Singers followed by performing the “National Anthem,” under the direction of LHS Choral Director Douglas Hodgkins.

The best class

MEMBERS OF THE Lynnfield High School Class of 2018 celebrate by throwing their mortarboards in the air following commencement exercises on June 1. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

Student Council President Mia Ford welcomed members of the Class of 2018, their parents, family members, faculty and local officials to the ceremony. She recognized teachers for their “patience, knowledge and support,” and thanked them for “making sure we understood each lesson, assignment and project, and when we did not, being available for extra help whenever we needed it.”

Ford also pointed out the unique role of graduates’ parents, thanking them for “being the motivation and support we needed when we could not find it anywhere else, specifically when we got caught up in ‘the senior slide.’”

“You were there to drag us out of bed and wake us up when we hit snooze too many times, drive us to school every morning, pay our class fees, attend every sports game or awards ceremony, make us do our homework, study a little more for that test and listen to our endless complaints,” said Ford. “But most importantly, you gave us the space and patience we needed in order to find ourselves and guide us through this journey.”

Ford told her classmates that “high school has not always been easy, but I am so lucky to have shared this experience with you.”

“I may be biased, but I feel like our class truly has been the best class,” Ford continued. “We are devoted to our school work, as well as whatever passions we may have, whether it is sports, art, drama, music or driving too many Lynnfield Laps. Besides school, we get along so well, which has made our time together such a memorable experience. At times, our journey throughout high school has felt so long, but in reality we are now at the end of our time together.”

A loyal class

Bates provided some brief remarks after Ford’s speech. He said he has enjoyed getting to know the Class of 2018 the last two years.

“From the moment I met you as juniors, I immediately recognized that this class is bonded by a togetherness that is tough to break,” said Bates. “When a classmate was down, you were all there to pick them up. When there were successes, your entire class celebrated. No matter the situation, you have had each other’s back, which speaks volumes for who you are and your loyalty to each other. Senior week was a perfect example of this. Everywhere we went, staff members and hosts commented on your behavior, maturity and, most importantly, your togetherness. There is no better compliment that we could have received. You were truly a class that exemplified leadership, kindness and community.”

Strong, passionate fighters

Class of 2018 Valedictorian Analeigha Colarusso gave the valedictory address during the 59th LHS graduation.

Colarusso captured the uplifting mood of the moment, saying of the conquering graduates, “We won’t be affected by criticism, we won’t succumb to the status quo, and more importantly, we won’t let anybody or anything define us.”

“Take a look around, each one of us has our own story,” said Colarusso. “Each one of us has faced difficulties, dealt with devastation, and consequently been forced to make sacrifices at some point in our lives. But, even in our most difficult days, we have challenged ourselves to our greatest potential, and that is what has brought us here tonight. We are determined not to get knocked down, and when we do, we pick ourselves right back up. We are strong, passionate fighters ready to take on this next stage of our lives.”

Colarusso told fellow graduates that life isn’t perfect, and they should expect a setback or two along the way. The advice she offered, she said, came from her grandfather.

“Roll with the punches,” said Colarusso. “These words have given me courage, strength and determination. These words have given me hope, passion and resilience. These words are why I have the tremendous privilege of standing before you tonight. Let’s admit it: life can be difficult and stressful at times. Things do not always go as planned. Things are not always easy. We are often hit with obstacles, setbacks and failures along our journeys. However, as bad as things may seem, these punches we take are meant to push us to step out of our comfort zones, embrace change, and challenge ourselves to grow. These setbacks and failures are the key to take on challenges and will teach us some of the most important lessons in life. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance. These are not signs of weakness or defeat, but of strength and courage.”

Class gift

Class President Alexandra Ross presented the class gift, which is new seating for the high school’s front lobby. Class of 2019 President Emily Dickey accepted the gift on behalf of the school.

Dickey thanked the Class of 2018 for the gift and wished them as they begin writing the next chapter in their lives.

A beautiful transformation

After the talented musicians of the Concert Band, the Chorus Seniors and the Chamber Singers performed an awesome rendition of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Ross offered remarks to the Class of 2018.

“Everyone will tell you how hard (high school) is,” said Ross. “But you’ll do it. All of it. And then, when you’re finally finished, you’ll realize everyone was lying. Because none of that was nearly as hard as what we’re about to do right here. Throw our caps in the air, walk out and leave it all behind us. Everyone forgets to tell you the way you’ll feel playing in or watching your last football, soccer, or field hockey game. The way it feels the last time you step out on the field or the ice or the stage, sometimes wearing blue and gold but always bleeding it. They won’t tell you what it feels like to go from spending every single day with people you’ve known since you were five to not seeing them at all. What it will feel like to take a psychology class in college and walk in, forgetting that you aren’t going to see Mr. Boulay in his plaid shirt or hear Mrs. LaMonica and her contagious laugh. These are the things they won’t tell you, because the truth of it all is, saying goodbye is the hardest part.”

Ross attributed the graduates’ successes to a strong support network consisting of dedicated teachers and supportive family and friends. She thanked a number of people for success in high school including her mother, brother, best friend and high school teachers Jennifer Goguen and Elizabeth LaMonica.

“The truth is it takes a team of dedicated teachers, and supportive family and friends to make even just one of us look good,” said Ross.  

In closing, Ross wished her classmates well in their future endeavors.

“Thirteen years ago, we began this journey as small strangers, but we’ll finish it together as bigger students, better classmates, faster teammates and stronger friends,” said Ross. “And so, sometimes we find ourselves back at the beginning of our story. Wondering how to say goodbye, but reveling in our beautiful transformation, and surrounded by so, so much love.”

A celebration of success

After Ross concluded her speech, Superintendent Jane Tremblay offered some brief remarks before bidding farewell to the Class of 2018.

“This celebration is the culmination of all the experiences you have had over the past 13 years,” said Tremblay. “You have put countless hours of work into your studies. You have learned the importance of working together as you performed side by side on our stages, and worked as true teammates on our playing fields. Your reward is your high school diploma, the gateway to the rest of your life — a reward never to be taken for granted. Your successes are yours. However, your parents and significant adults in your life have stood witness and have been your biggest cheerleaders throughout your journey.”

Tremblay encouraged the graduates to thank their parents for their love and support over the years. Each member of the Class of 2018 stood up and gave their families a round of applause.

End of an era

School Committee Chairman Jamie Hayman awarded diplomas to the 156 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 2018 threw their mortarboards in the air, officially marking the end of their Lynnfield High School careers.