Friday, June 13, 2003
It was a rainy-day graduation for CCHS seniors
It rained. Anyone involved in this year's graduation at Concord-Carlisle High School will mention this first, for it was the overwhelming fact of the day. Yet, while we, the graduates, were all sitting outdoors and slowly becoming drenched, the rain did not have our attention. In fact, all I heard was how glad we were to be outside so all of our relatives could see us graduate in person, as opposed to a limited few watching on screen in the auditorium. This response was not surprising, for it is this spirit that defines the Class of 2003.
Earlier, as we processed down the muddying hill and through the gates of our football stadium, I was suddenly hit by an unexpected case of nostalgia. Over the past four years, we had developed from timid freshmen to the proud graduates I saw before me. In the beginning, we were just attempting to survive and complete our homework on time. This senior year saw most of us devoting our lives to college applications, extra-curricular activities, community service, and income-producing jobs in addition to insanely busy academic schedules. Our experiences in and out of the classroom, our accomplishments, frustrations, conflicts, and joys have intersected countless times. We worked through each day, and this challenge gave us pride in our talent and dedication.
The procession made its way to the rows of wet seats where we remained standing for the national anthem. Many of us had played this anthem at Concord-Carlisle football games in our Pep Band and at previous commencement ceremonies. Now we heard it for the last time as high school students.
Principal Arthur Dulong began his address and my mind drifted towards the past once again. I recalled the large controversy and eventual moratorium on all school dances, and how our class led the way in having Mr. Dulong reinstate them. I remembered Ms. DiCicco, principal from an era that seems long ago and whose name this year's freshmen do not recognize. I thought of what we would take with us; the learning, the friendships, the stories, the special encounters, and the acquired self-assurance. By the time Mr. Dulong introduced our faculty speaker and sat down, I once again came back to the present.
I am glad that I did. Mr. Ethan Hoblitzelle, a teacher in the Social Studies department, was elected by our graduating class to give this year's commencement address. He began by describing how forgettable these speeches are. According to his research, these addresses all follow a specific "menu" that causes them to be erased from our memories as soon as the ceremony is over. With this humorous introduction, Mr. Hoblitzelle presented the true wisdom of his message and provided observations from his own experience. As he concluded, I realized it is the high caliber of the teaching staff that puts CCHS into a league of its own.
For four years, these teachers have held our respect and more often our friendship. Mr. Hoblitzelle led the History Reading Group for nearly as long, and to all those involved, it proved to be one of the best experiences of high school. Every week, we would meet in the H building to discuss a particular book assigned to us. It amazes me, in retrospect, to imagine a group of fifteen or so high school students committed for hours on a Friday afternoon to the discussion of history. Yet, this is a perfect example of who we are, and what constitutes CCHS's teaching staff. Our faculty is incredibly devoted, hardworking, and kind. They are teachers, but they are also people who came to understand us as individuals and guide us into adulthood. We owe them a monumental debt and hold them in the highest regard.
The rain continued. Mr. Hoblitzelle finished, Superintendent Thayer spoke, and then we received our diplomas. By this point, every graduate was wet and cold, but it did not dampen our spirit. It took us four challenging years to achieve those leather-bound pieces of paper, but there was no denying the joy and sense of accomplishment we felt. By the time we launched our mortarboards into the air, the Class of 2003 was ready to go home and dry off. We had spent only an hour and a half in the open rain, but relived four years of experiences in our minds. Concord-Carlisle High School, we will truly miss you. Incipit vita nova. Thus begins a new life.
*Abend, Lauren · Undecided
The John F. Donovan Memorial Flag Award is presented to the best all-round young women and young men in the graduation class who possess the qualities of dependability, leadership, service, and patriotism to an outstanding degree. The award is presented in memory of the former Concord High School and Concord-Carlisle High School Principal, John F. Donovan. Each student receives an American Flag which has flown over the high school during this academic year.
The recipients for 2003 are Colleen Sullivan, Nicholas Carr and Alan Ozarowski.
Faculty Gold Medals are presented each year to students with the highest academic averages. The recipients for 2003 are *Justin Henderson, *Stephen Yu and Emily McAteer.
For a number of years, the Carlisle Garden Club has sponsored a scholarship
in memory of Debbie Wright, whose mother Ann was active in the Garden
Club. This scholarship is given every year to a Carlisle resident who
is a high school senior or college student. This year the scholarship
committee chose Elizabeth Orlando, a CCHS senior, to receive the award.
Elizabeth plans to attend Sacred Heart College in Fairfield, Connecticut,
this fall, where she will major in elementary education and psychology.
Elizabeth is very involved with the youth of Carlisle through the Recreation
Department and most recently as the stage manager for the seventh grade
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito