The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 21, 2002

Features

CCHS graduation retrospective

Rather than preparing for the traditional commencement ceremony on Memorial Field, the graduating seniors of Concord-Carlisle High School lined up for the graduation procession in a hallway of the school. Saturday's poor weather forced the graduation ceremony indoors. As the students marched into the upper gym, they were welcomed by thunderous applause from faculty, family, and friends. In a short hour and a half, 234 students would receive their diplomas marking achievements both in the classroom and out.

Class speaker Brian Walsh addresses his CCHS classmates at graduation. (Photo by Lois d'Annunzio)
To replace the school band that was scheduled to perform at the outdoor ceremony, a senior a cappella group dazzled 700 family and friends in the gym, and the 500 "overflow" spectators watched on a big screen in the school auditorium. The sound of the twelve students' rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" echoed throughout the halls of the school where this class has lived for the past four years. "Imagine all the people/ sharing all the world..." resonated with this class that has generously donated much time and love to the communities that raised them.

When I, as class president, addressed my classmates, I focused on similar themes. I began by sharing the story of a classmate who reached out to help a lost child in Boston, using this one student to demonstrate the characteristics of the entire class "... the kindness, the courtesy, the concern for others, the bravery, the responsibility and the accomplishment ­ that is the class of 2002." I encouraged my fellow graduates to go out and do something, to take risks and enjoy themselves. I quoted the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, to stress this point: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it." I concluded my speech by offering best wishes and a farewell to the class I have grown with for the last four years.

The commencement speaker, Ms. Tracy Davies, next addressed the class. A teacher in the history department at Concord-Carlisle High School, Davies is known for her humorous and passionate teaching. Very much in character, her speech brought laughs and smiles to the entire audience. She opened with a description of her ordeal as she sought advice and insight for her commencement speech. In addition to frequent laughs, she also presented the graduating class with guidance as she emphasized the importance of humor. The class was told, "If a few of you currently don't possess a sense of humor, go out and find one before the day comes to an end." She also encouraged each graduate to "never become a snooty snob." When the speech ended, the noise from the applause soared to the level of a small explosion.

Although the class is dynamic and many students have excelled in different areas, Superintendent Ed Mavragis singled out four students for exceptional achievement. Adam Raffa and Kerry Flaherty were the recipients of the Joseph Donovan Flag award for the two most well-rounded students. The faculty gold medals, given for the highest grade point average, were awarded to Laurie Burns and Kevin Der. The presentation of diplomas followed these awards.

During the last week of school at Concord-Carlisle High School, my English teacher had everyone in the class write a paper to describe the most memorable event during high school. On the last day of class, we took turns sharing these memorable moments. Although a few of these essays were written about bad experiences, the majority of them were written about wonderful memories. The stories ranged from the glory of thrilling sports victories to the anger of putting up with sinister teachers. Everyone in the class had attended the same school, yet each student wrote about a different memorable moment. As the class of 2002 lined up for graduation on Saturday, these memories came together for the final time. Although this day marked the last time the class will ever share high school together, the class will forever share its memories.


2002 The Carlisle Mosquito