The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 26, 2009

Carlisle School graduates celebrate their journey


CLASS OF 2009. Carlisle School eighth-graders line up prior to graduation ceremonies on June 23. Pictured are (back row, left to right): Dan Picard, Sarah Poirier, Megan Ratcliffe, Anthony Chirban, Kyle Ridick, Mel Rocco, Abby Samargya and Sam Schurr. In front are (left to right): Michelle Carey, Emilie Carr, Abigail Chang, Eugenia Cooney, Maddie Creighton, Shannon Driscoll, Mathew Cuomo, Annalise Fosnight and Megan George. (Photo by Mollie McPhee Ho)

Overcast skies on Tuesday evening forced a change of venue, but could not dampen the smiles of the students, families and faculty gathered in the Corey Auditorium for the eighth-grade graduation of the Carlisle School Class of 2009.

Band Director Deana Saada-Smith led members of the Symphonic and Concert Bands in a rendition of Pomp and Circumstance as seventh-grade Marshals Celeste Balboni and Whitney Cook led the Class of 2009 processional to the stage. The girls were elegant in pale dresses and the boys handsome in jacket and tie. How many parents thought back to the small children who first climbed aboard the kindergarten bus nine years ago?

Student presentations

After the National Anthem, Middle School Principal Joyce Mehaffey introduced class speakers Jasmine Khayami and Gabrielle Luiselli, who shared their thoughts on their years at the Carlisle School (see pages 8 and 9). Student Council Co-Presidents Julia Blanco and Belle Hankey announced that the Class of 2009 gift to the school will be a new welcome sign to be located at the bottom of the Corey stairs. Shannon Driscoll, Jasmine Khayami and Caroline St. Francis presented a copy of the 2008-2009 Carlisle School yearbook to Steve Bober, to whom it is dedicated. Bober is retiring after teaching in Carlisle for 32 years.

Awards and music

Choral Director Megan Harlow and eighth-grade Language Arts teacher Michael Miller announced the winners of the Marguerite Grant Scholarship and the Amy Lapham Award for Continuing Education. The Marguerite Grant Scholarship is awarded to a senior at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) or Minuteman Regional High School who is also a graduate of the Carlisle School. Grant was a Carlisle resident who worked at the school between 1946 and 1975, serving as teacher, principal and acting superintendent. The Grant School Building is also named in her honor. This year’s scholarship recipient is Ben Verrill who will be attending Connecticut College.

The Lapham Award is given by the Carlisle Teachers Association in honor of Amy Lapham, a Carlisle resident who taught at the school between 1956 and 1970. The award is given to post-secondary students who have graduated from CCHS or Minuteman and this year’s winner is Melissa Judson, currently a student at U.C.L.A.

At this point in the program members of the eighth grade joined the bands and Middle School Choir for a musical tribute to the Class of 2009. The band performed the march Black Horse Troop, by John Philip Sousa, after which the 86-voice choir, directed by Megan Harlow, sang “I’m goin’ up a yonder” by Walter Hawking.

Once the eighth grade performers had returned to their seats onstage, former Carlisle School Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson spoke about the Lillian Awards. Endowed by Fox-Melanson and named after her mother, the award is given annually to recognize one student in grades 5 – 7 and one faculty member who demonstrate kindness, decency and compassion. Melanson repeated the advice of her mother, “It is very important to do well, but it is more important to do good.” Fifth-grade teacher Jen Putnam described the student recipient, seventh-grader Whitney Cook, as a helpful and “faithful friend,” a “role model” and someone who “goes above and beyond” expectations. Putnam described the faculty recipient, French teacher Nicole Baker, as “a wonderful model for peers and students” who “comes in every day with a smile” and who “clearly loves teaching.”

Mehaffey presented the Marguerite Grant Citizenship Award to Katrina Stropkay and Mathew Japco. The award is given to a girl and a boy in the graduating class who demonstrate outstanding leadership, cooperation, school spirit and academic excellence.


Superintendent Marie Doyle addressed the class, after which School Committee members Dale Ryder and Louis Salemy presented diplomas to the students. One student, Christian Salemy, received a handshake from his parent along with his diploma. The distribution took some time, as the class of 2009 is one of the largest classes to graduate from the school with an enrollment of 101, including five sets of twins.

When all the diplomas had been given out, “Graduation Fanfare” was performed by Dan Picard and Katherine Sorrows on trumpet and Chris Sellew on snare drum. The ceremony concluded with the band performing “Downing Street March” as the graduates of the Class of 2009 filed out of the auditorium and joined their families for refreshments in the cafeteria and a video collage of student photos shown in the auditorium. The reception was prepared and hosted by the parents of the Class of 2010.

A drizzle greeted people as they headed outside to their cars. Doyle had noted that according to Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds David Flannery, it was only the fourth time in the past 40 years that rainy weather had caused the Carlisle School graduation to be held indoors. (see feature story)

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito