Barrington graduation: Triumph and tributes

BHS says good-bye to graduating seniors, retiring teachers and principal

Posted 6/8/22

They were sophomores when everything changed. 

Members of the Barrington High School Class of 2022 were about three-quarters of the way through their sophomore year when Covid turned their …

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Barrington graduation: Triumph and tributes

BHS says good-bye to graduating seniors, retiring teachers and principal

Posted

They were sophomores when everything changed. 

Members of the Barrington High School Class of 2022 were about three-quarters of the way through their sophomore year when Covid turned their high school careers upside down. But despite the challenges, this year’s graduates persevered, said BHS Principal Joe Hurley.

On Sunday, June 5, under a beautiful blue sky, Hurley shared his final graduation speech as principal. He praised the graduates’ perseverance, and celebrated the day this spring when students were allowed to remove their masks.

“At this time we began to once again see our students’ smiling faces and we were not continually having to tell students to pull up their masks as they walked through the halls of BHS,” Hurley said. “Although this may not seem like a big deal from the outside, it made a tremendous difference in our daily interactions with our students.”

Sunday was a particularly special day for Hurley, who will retire at the end of the school year. The veteran school administrator — he has been with Barrington High School for 23 years and has worked in education for 42 years — was excited to share the full commencement experience with an “outstanding group of students…”

“As we come together on Victory Field, on this absolutely gorgeous afternoon, ready to celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional students, I too share the excitement, and the emotions of joy, as we anticipate the amazing journey that lies ahead for this class,” he said. 

The graduation ceremony included a special tribute to Hurley, offered by graduating senior Jack Culton. The event also marked the upcoming retirement of longtime Barrington High School teacher Sharon Messore; she’s also the wife of Barrington Superintendent of Schools Michael Messore. 

Withstanding adversity

The students who spoke during graduation also mentioned the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“What makes this class so unique is our ability to withstand adversity and champion resilience,” Tessa Sullivan wrote in her essay shared during graduation. “…No one could have anticipated circumstances such as these, and yet we as a community continue to overcome them…”

Jack Lardner spoke about his freshman year at Barrington High School, remembering his exact schedule and the teachers he had. 

“It was also that freshman year that would be our only normal full year,” Lardner said. “That also made it so memorable…”

Hurley took time acknowledge all the teachers and staff who worked hard, side-by-side with students, through the pandemic. He praised the students’ parents for all the support throughout the years. 

As he often does, Hurley decided to share some song lyrics with the graduating seniors. He said he thought long and hard about which song might carry a meaningful message, and at first selected Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. 

However, in his last few words to the entire class and their families and friends, Hurley instead settled on Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind.

“Hold the door, say please, say thank you 

“Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie

“I know you got mountains to climb but 

“Always stay humble and kind

“When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you

“When the work you put in is realized

“Let yourself feel the pride but 

“Always stay humble and kind”

Hurley then added: “Class of 2022, continue to stay humble and kind as you begin your journey that will take you far beyond the walls of Barrington High School!”

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