Photos: Mt. Hope grads encouraged to make mistakes

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At the commencement exercises for Mt. Hope High School, certain traditions are assured. Students will hear farewells and advice from peers and from those who taught and mentored them over the past four years; students' remarks will contain references to inside jokes that only their classmates will understand; and dean of students, Nat Squatrito will, at some point in the ceremony, chase down and seize a contraband beachball or two that somehow makes it into the auditorium. This class of 2013 was no exception.

 

On Saturday, June 8, the 237 graduates and members of their families filled the gymnasium at Roger Williams University where president of the class of 2013 and mistress of ceremonies, Angela Mascena, welcomed the graduates and others who shared in the students’ success. She also offered her classmates observations and advice.

 

"A lot of us don't know what we want. That's OK. That's why they invented the pu-pu platter," Angela said.

 

While she encouraged her classmates to try different things she also emphasized the importance of being happy in what you do.

 

"Don't play it safe," she said of settling into a life of mediocrity. "Your happiness needs to be a priority in your life."

 

During Ms. Mascena's welcome address, she took the opportunity to wish class treasurer, Kelly Coccio, a happy birthday. The joke among friends is that they've wished her a happy birthday, sometimes with cakes, everyday throughout the school year. Kelly, along with class secretary, Kelsey Tatum, presented the class of 2014 with the class gift, the Husky logo painted on the outside wall of the school.

 

"We had some trouble deciding what to give," Kelly said. "We wanted to leave an imprint on the school, literally."

 

Valedictorian, Vivian Ramos, and salutatorian, Elysha Grant, both encouraged their classmates to live life to their fullest potential in their addresses.

 

"Take the time to look around and enjoy the world," said Vivian. "Find a happy balance between work and play."

 

Elysha told her classmates not to worry about failure, what's more important is that you try.

 

"If you didn't make mistakes in life you'd never progress," Elysha said.

 

Before the class president handed the baton to incoming senior class president, Ross Hogan, the chorus and vocal ensemble performed "To Sir With Love," and the Mt. Hope High School band performed an original piece written for the school by composer, Roger Cichy, entitled "On Wind and Sails." A signed copy of the original manuscript was given as a gift to principal, Donald Rebello.

 

In speaking to the graduating class, Mr. Rebello read of a list of colleges, universities and trade schools where students would seek higher education. But he also spoke to the importance and dedication of those who chose to serve in the military. When he recognized five graduates from the class of 2013 who planned to enter the service after graduation - Michael Cotta, Carrington Henley, Christopher Riley, Ryan Stanley and Romel Velasco - that the entire auditorium stood for an ovation of appreciation for their commitment to serve.

 

"Peace and solace is not a guarantee," Mr. Rebello said of retaining America's freedoms. "We pray and hope they will serve in peace time and not have to take out a weapon."

 

He also bid farewell to all the graduates.

 

"We will always remember you. Remember where you came from," he said.

 

Superintendent of schools, Melinda Thies, advised the graduates to remove the focus on self for a fulfilling life, before this year's recipient of the Gardner/Burke Oratorical Presentation award, Ava Mascena, recited a speech from the character Bartleby in the comedy film, "Accepted." Ava's presentation received a standing ovation.

 

As the speeches ended, Angela quipped that they provided an opportune time for students to inflate flattened beachballs that were smuggled into the field house. It didn't take long for Mr. Squatrito to quickly deflate the orbs bouncing amid the grads, drawing groans and boos, mainly from members of the audience. With order restored, each graduate was called to the stage to be congratulated by Ms. Thies, Mr. Rebello and school committee chairman, Paul Silva.

 

With diplomas in hand, the class president instructed the new graduates to move their tassels from one side to the other. When the graduates were presented, the mortarboards from the class of 2013 were tossed high in the air in celebration of their achievements.

 

Mr. Silva, reminded the students that commencement is a beginning, not and end.

 

"This entire class is accomplished. You're a whole group of achievers. You've already shown you have great potential. It's time for you to make the world a better place," he said.

 

It wasn't until the students stood among their peers in the sea of purple robes worn by the boys in the graduating class, and white robes worn by the girls, that the reality of their accomplishments began to sink in.

 

Outside the field house, Chris Machado stood with friends Scott Circosta and John "Vinho" Vento. The trio looked forward to enjoying their summer.

 

"It's bittersweet. It doesn't seem real, but there's a weight lifted off your shoulders," Chris said.

 

Even before the students marched into the ceremony, Katrina Davock, Tori Brayton, Kayla "Kayle" Dias, Hailey Boylan, Alex Duseault, Alexis Vasconcelos and Bree Silva stood together in the sunshine. Although some admitted their road to graduation was bumpy, they appreciated the efforts of the teachers and staff who were always there to help them.

 

"Miss Costa is my main girl," Katrina said, recognizing staff and faculty for their role in her success.

 

Looking forward to her next stage of life, Bree Silva enjoyed the feeling of her accomplishment.

 

"It feels good, it does. Twelve years paid off," she said.

 

Mt. Hope High School

Class of 2013

*RI Honor Society

# National Honor Society

Katlin E. Abate*

Ceilidh M. Adams*

Jenna Adams

Alexia R. Aguilar

Brian L. Allen

Adam J. Almeida*

Angelica Alvarado

Jeremiah D. Alves

Kyle E. Alves

Michael  J. Alves

Courtney L.  Almaral

Melissa T. Andrade

Cassandra R. Aubrey

Alexus L. Barr

Meaghan L Barros* #

Johnathan R. Belham

Lindsey M. Benevides

Jeffrey J. Bleau

Storm J. Bonanno

Meghan E. Borges

Jillian N. Borgia

Keith Bowen

Hailey E. Boylen

Courtney E. Bragantine

Tori A. Brayton

Paul G. Braz, Jr.

Jeffrey O. Briggs

Ariel Brown

Derek J Burke

Cassidy R. Cabral*#

Ryan M Cabral

John W. Clace

Shawn Calouro

Alyssa A. Camelo

Victoria M. Campo*#

Alyssa L. Cardoso

Michelle A Cardoza*

Ty’Keesha R. Carter

Joshua R. Castigliego*#

Kenzie J. Castriotta

Scott T. Circosta

Christian T. Clark*

Lauren M. Cloutier

Kelly A. Coccio*#

Matthew A. Coccio

Jonathan A. Coimbra

Rebecca A. Comeford

Jacob Conte

Joshua R. Cordiero

Rebecca Cordeiro

Angelica M. Correia

Justin Correia

Micaela S. Correia

Devin D. Costa

Dillon A. Costa*#

Jillian M. Costa

Louis J. Costa

Sophie Costa

Michael J. Cotta

David J Cottrell

Elizabeth E. Cox

Tanya DaCosta

Jonathan J. DaPonte

Michelle F. DaPonte*#

Brittney E. DaRosa

Kaitlyn B. DaSilva

Kile J. DaSilva*#

Shaileigh K. DaSilva

Katrina A. Davock

Kenzi L. DeFaria

Benjamin M. DeFelice

Lauren Deschenes

Mark J. Devol

Kayla N. Dias

Cristian Dias

Alyson M. Dion*

Victoria L. Dozier

Angelica Drolet*

Devon A. Drolet

Alexis N. Durand

Alexander R. Duseault

John J. Farias*#

Michael J. Feather*

Nicholas Ferreira

Sara E. Fillipino*

Jason T. Flanagan

Hannah G. Forden

Hanna A. G. Forsberg

Evan T. Fortin

Judy L. Foust

Alexis K. Fowler *#

Alexander Francis

Benjamin N. Francis*#

Nicholas Franco

Ryan S. Franco*#

John Frazier

Branden M. Furado

Corey Gendreau

Ethan G. Gilcrest

Cassidy C. Goff

Emily Correia Gomes

Alyssa L. Gonsalves

Denielle M. Gonsalves*#

Elysha J. Grant*#

Patrick T. Guthleim*

Adam M. Hamel*#

Emily J. Hamel*#

Tyler C. Havriliak*

Carrington J. Henley

James R. Hennen

Alexanra L. Hill

Ariel Hill

Carmen Hogan

Tyler P. Houston

Joshua Hunt*#

Lisa M. Hunt

Lauren C. Irons*

Samantha J. Jannitto

William C. Jaycox

Benjamin A. Joslyn

Brandon M. Kemmy

Jarrod T. Kemmy

Audrey Kenna*

Nathan L. Kiklis

Sean W. Killeavy

Nicholas J. Lachapelle*

Michael Lester

Hannah P. Lytle*#

Christopher J. Machado

Erica J. Maciel

Rachel A. Magers

Collin J. Malloy

Lauren E. Manuel

Bruce E. Marshall

Kristina N. Marshall

Justin Martel

Selena Martinez

Camarin L. Martins

Angela S. Mascena*#

Ava G Mascena*#

Brenna G. Maynard*#

Matthew R. McGee

Denise McKenna

Briana L McQueeney

Collin Medeiros

Marisa R. Medeiros

Danielle A. Mello

Selena L. Mello*

Shannan M. Mello

Clara C. Medonca

Aaron D. Merritt

Krystal A. Metivier

Katrina Milhomens

Zachary T. Minior*

William Moclair

Lauren Morra

Kelly Mowery

Leif E. Nygaard

Alexander O’Hanley*#

Alyssa A Olsen

Shannon R. Ott

Kaitlyn E. Ouellette

Ana Pacheco

Robert Palmer

Gabrielle F. Passerello*#

Courtney R. Patterson

Eric J. Pattie*#

Cynthia J. Payne

Andrea A. Pereira*#

Ben Pereira

Ashley M. Perry

Cody S. Perry*#

Brendan H. Persons

Austin D. Porto*

Mary C. Powers*#

Randy Pullen

Marisa L. Rainey*#

Vivian L. Ramos*#

Andrew R. Resendes

Corey J. Resendes

Anthony M. Rezendes

Christopher P. Riley

Nastasia L. Rimoshytus

Ronald L. Robert

Brandon B. Rocha

Marc A. Rocha

Nicole L. Rodrigues

Rodrigo J. Rodrigures*#

Damaris M. Snowball-Rodriguez

Isiah J. Rodriguez

Jared Roscoe

Nicole Rusin

John Ryan, Jr.

Ricky Saldanha*#

Justin S. Sampson

Timothy E. Santos

Morgan B. Santurri

Jeremy Securo

Kaela E. Sherman*#

Breanna Silva

Jacob W. Silva

Marquise W. Silva

Sara Silva

Daniel Simonds#

Lauren M. Simons

Taylor M. Sousa

Trevor J. Sousa

Rick K. Sousa*#

Kelsey A. St. George

Alan St. Vincent

Ryan T. Stanley

Jameel Sylvia*#

Matthew J. Swansey

Megan E. Tattrie

Kelsey A. Tatum *#

Daniel B. Tebano

Dionna A. Tebano

Byron C. Thibaudeau

Lindsey M. Thomas*

Michael J. Thorpe

Alexandra F. Threadgill*

Cassidy J. Toste

Adam W. Trinade

Derrik L. Trombley

Alexis P. Vasconcellos

Romel E. Velasco

Megan L. Vento

Justin Vicente*#

Torri Viera

Jaimee M. Walsh*#

Bradley Weaver

Cori Welch

Alexandra J. Wetherald*

Tyler G. Wilkinson

Heather E. Wilson

Christopher P. Winchell*

Bailey T. Ziobro

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.