'New beginning' as Mt. Hope grads get diplomas


BRISTOL—It was an ending and a beginning for Mt. Hope High School's largest graduating class as 255 graduates earned their diplomas Saturday.

"Do not cry because it's over; smile because it happened," senior class President Ross Hogan quoted author Dr. Seuss during his address to his fellow graduates. "This day is an ending, but it's also a new beginning."

Valedictorian Elisabeth Iacono shared a similar message with the class, urging fellow graduates not to dwell on the past but strive for the future. "This isn't an ending, but a new beginning for each and every one of us," she said. "Our fate lies within us. Have the courage to follow your passion."

Several hundred spectators packed the Roger Williams University field house at noon Saturday to watch to watch the students stride across the stage. Principal Dennis Rebello acknowledged the families in attendance, and the critical role parents play in their children's education, using the students' own words he had previously asked them to describe their parents.

"My mom's beauty, her intelligence and her ever-present wisdom has guided me through my life," he quoted graduate Lucy Spence.

"My mom exceeds the role of mother; she's a superstar," graduate Alexandra ash said of her mother, Lisa Mercier, whom Mr. Rebello presented with the annual Outstanding Parent Award.

"Parent, you have made an impression on these students," he said.

The school has made an impression on the students as well, as salutatorian Hazel Baldwin-Kress exemplified, delivering her speech detailing their years at Mt. Hope in the style of the ubiquitous five-paragraph essay so familiar to English class students.

"We are not the same people we once were. Our identities as high school students will fade," she said. "But do not fear greatness, judge others, or forget the 5-paragraph essay that got us here."


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