Tiverton honors 113 graduates

Sense of community a theme

By Tom Killin Dalglish
Posted 6/9/19

[Note: photos to follow.]

TIVERTON – It was unexpected. The processional set the tone and lit up a feeling of community and joy that continued throughout the 2019 Tiverton High School outdoor graduation ceremony Friday evening at the high school athletic field.

First came the music, but with no sign of the graduates. Then from the south end of the field, along the entrance path, the group of 113 seniors, most in maroon robes, some in white, hove to.

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Tiverton honors 113 graduates

Sense of community a theme

Posted

[Note: photos to follow.]

TIVERTON – It was unexpected. The processional set the tone and lit up a feeling of community and joy that continued throughout the 2019 Tiverton High School outdoor graduation ceremony Friday evening at the high school athletic field.
First came the music, but with no sign of the graduates. Then from the south end of the field, along the entrance path, the group of 113 seniors, most in maroon robes, some in white, hove to.
And that's when the cheering began, and grew louder, as the graduates passed in front of the bleachers, then into the center of the field to take their seats center stage in front of the podium on the east side of the field.
The celebration was spontaneous, totally taking over the assembled audience, and in the moment — all applause, arms waving, yelling, names being called out, whooping, cell phones held high. The Tiverton community was together for the occasion, to honor Tiverton's kids. One of the seniors wore a cap carrying the message on top: "It's about time."
"Good evening, we welcome students, parents, relatives and teachers to the Tiverton High School graduation ceremony of 2019," said Principal Christopher Ashley, in words of greeting.
Then, at the end of his brief remarks, and invoking President Franklin Roosevelt, Mr. Ashley admonished the students to persist in experimenting as they face challenges, to "take a method and try it: if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."
"Graduates, you will always have a home at Tiverton HIgh School. I wish you a bright, prosperous future," he closed by saying.
Right from the outset, Salutatorian Samantha Bond, the next to speak, addressed the teachers.
"I would like to thank the amazing teachers of Tiverton, whose unending encouragement, knowledge, and patience have guided us towards the goals and endeavors that we will be pursuing once this ceremony reaches a close," she said.
"The great thing about this time in our lives is that we are not done growing. We will continue to learn from those around us, constantly bettering ourselves and subsequently the world," she said.
Valedictorian William Brigham also addressed his parents, and the teachers.
"I would like to give special thanks to my mom and dad, my two role models, and to all of the teachers that have pushed us to succeed over the past four years, your efforts do not go unheeded," he said.
Mr. Brigham noted something special about the Class of 2019. "We are talking about a class of champions, a class that put 23 banners on the gym wall, the most a class has put up in school history, we simply do not lose, a class defined by grit and perseverance."
"Live out your dreams," said Mr. Brigham, "and not just once.Live them out quickly, leaving enough time to make new ones, when we meet down the road, grocery shopping at Market Basket or grabbing coffee at Coastal Roasters, we have some awesome stories to tell."
Class President Danika Bebe came the closest of all the speakers to saying anything remotely political.
There was no mention made by anyone during the ceremony of local, state, national or international politics, or about any national political leaders or issues, no mention of global warming or environmental issues among the challenges to be faced.
But Ms. Bebe said, "Remember to use Facebook to keep in contact with your classmates but do not use it to start fights on Tiverton Happenings."
And, she said, "Remember that the H word is not intelligent and you should say 'strongly dislike' instead."
"Remember that the world is at your fingertips and remember to use your voice," she said.
"I am a proud alumnus and vice-president of the first graduating class of Tiverton High School, Class of 1969," said commencement speaker Paul Amaral at the outset of his remarks.
Mr. Amaral said he's experienced several honors and privileges in his life. "But I feel that my greatest honor and privilege is standing here before you today as your commencement speaker," he said.
"When I look out at all of you today, I see myself. Just as it was for my classmates and me, this is a day of confidence, optimism and elation. But I also know that some of you may be experiencing feelings of ambivalence, insecurity and fear, lurking just below the surface," he said.
"You may find yourself with feelings you are unable to sort out, and mom and dad may be wondering what is going on."
"You are most likely in the beginning stages of the change or separation process," he said, "the first phase of which is uncertainty, and that is perfectly normal and its OK."
Mr. Amaral said among the "pearls of wisdom" imparted to him by the "mentors and role models that have guided" him through his life, was this:
"that a person’s true worth is measured by what they do for others."
Mr. Amaral also said as part of his prepared remarks, that "I’m told that the best part of a commencement address is the end."
Class of 2018 - by the numbers
Total students in graduating class of 2019 (113). In Class of 2018 (124); in Class of 2017 (112), in Class of 2016 (136).
From school guidance department:
What's next: 4 year college (52, 46%); 2 year college (36, 32%); tech school (6, 5%); work (2, 2%); military (3, 3%); undecided (14, 12%).

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