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Family Events

Megan's Graduation

Megan Brockett graduates from high school

Pam, Megan and Mother
Pam, her Dad, Terry and Mother take
their seats in Leo Landroche Memorial Field

My niece Megan and her parents, Terry and Pam, invited family members to attend Megan's graduation on June 9th, 2004. The afternoon was beautiful and as Mother and I arrived at Leo Landroche Memorial Field in back of Newmarket High School. The late afternoon sun hung low over the tall, thick and green trees that surrounded us on three sides. Despite the brilliant sun, the air was cool and dry.

Mother noted that she also graduated on June 11th but the year was 1939 and the place was Branford High School in Branford, Connecticut. That school changed its name to Branford Junior High School when the new High School was built in the 1960's. Several of my brothers and I graduated from the same stage that Mother received her diploma on. Our diploma said Branford Junior High though and we still had four years to go before we could graduate from High School.

 
Class Marshals
Class Marshals Adam Conti and Emily Cail

Soon the Processional began to the music of "Pomp and Circumstance" as performed by Ashley Pickering. Adam Conti and Emily Cail, the Class Marshals, lead the way. Slowly the 58 members of the graduating class of 2004 wound their way to the stage. Women were dressed in red and seated to the right of the stage. Men were attired in black and were seated to the left of the stage.

The Ceremonial Speeches Begin

Class President - Jessica Ann Bickford
Class President - Jessica Ann Bickford

Jessica Ann Bickford, the Class President, welcomed the audience to Newmarket High and urged us to give a round of applause to the graduating class of 2004. Jessica is also a member of the National Honor Society and one of the top ten students in the Class of 2004.

Megan and her best friend, Katrina, are also members of the National Honor Society and Class Officers. For years, they were neck and neck in the race to claim the top honor of Class Valedictorian.

Traditionally a valedictorian gives a valedictory or farewell address. A salutatorian traditionally presents a speech greeting people to the event. It is only a relatively recent tradition to look at class rank and standing to determine who gives the valedictorian and who gives the salutatorian address.

 
Katrina Kay Nunes - Salutatorian
Katrina Kay Nunes - Salutatorian

Neither of them achieved Valedictorian honor. The highest honor, that of Valedictorian was bestowed upon Nicholas Christopher Bauer. Katrina captured second place as Salutatorian. She gave a thoughtful speech about time spent with her grandmother. Katrina talked about baking a cake and used that experience as a metaphor for the trials and tribulations of High School. The speech worked well even though Katrina was repeatedly distracted by a stiff breeze which kept trying to carry her cap and tassel into the trees. She received a warm round of applause for her accomplishments and speech.

Katrina visited us with Megan when they came down for a Yankee's baseball game. Katrina and her Mom once lived in Basal which is on the border of Germany, France and Switzerland. I gathered that her life was often difficult but she persevered. Katrina set goals and worked towards them. In September she will be attending the University of New Hampshire along with Megan.

Graduation Photos

Valedictorian - Nicholas Christopher Bauer
Valedictorian
Nicholas Christopher Bauer
Superintendent of Schools - Kathleen Murphy
Superintendent of Schools
Kathleen Murphy
 
Megan Displays her Diploma
Megan proudly displays her diploma!

Nicholas Bauer, the Class Valedictorian, gave a passionate speech about the challenges faced by the graduates of the Class of 2004. He paid special thanks to those class members who were going into the military and risking their lives for their country. It was clear to me that what Vietnam was to our generation 9/11 was to this generation; a defining moment they would remember forever. This class was born when Ronald Reagan was President. They graduated from High School on the day of his national funeral. While the Class of 2004 were taught my many members of the Vietnam generation, their experiences were completely different. The world they will shape, promises to be equally different and far better, for millions of people across the globe.

 
Katrina shows everyone her diploma!
Katrina shows everyone her diploma!
Dennis Townes
Dennis Townes performs
"So Much More To Me".
 
Prensentation of Flowers
The Presentation of Flowers

After all 58 students of the Class of 2004 received their diplomas there was a ceremonial presentation of flowers to members of the audience. Every graduate picked a beautiful yellow rose and then gave it to their parents or loved ones in the audience who made possible their child's journey to graduation. It was a wonderful way to acknowledge the sacrifices and hard work that is part of being a parent. Graduation from High School was as much about being a successful student as it was about being a successful parent. The sharing of flowers acted as a metaphor for the message that our journey through life is enriched through sharing and personal sacrifice.

Grateful students shared flowers and hugs with happy parents. Many students received beautiful bouquets in return. All the while Dennis Townes sang a sad and sweet tune about how he never made a million dollars but he held no regrets because his children meant so much more to him. I am sure more than a few parents found it easy to identify with his song especially in light of how many students were going on to college.

 
Ashley Pickering - Accompanist
Ashley Pickering - Accompanist
Happy Best Friends
Happy and proud best friends
 
Family Portrait Time
Pam, her mom, Megan, Mother and Terry

Ashley Pickering played "Pomp and Circumstance" as the proud and happy graduates left the small stage in pairs during the recessional. Their work and accomplishments were recognized as they moved forth on to a bigger stage where the work of the world was already in progress. Parents and loved ones were thanked for bringing them this far. Now the difficult and often bittersweet fruits of life awaited each and every graduate. The class quote, "We know what we are, but not what we may be", from William Shakespeare stood silently in the background as the graduates took their first steps onto the larger stage of life.

Parting shots...

One last pose...
One last pose for family and friends...
First steps onto a larger stage
A determined graduate
leaves one stage for another...

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