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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Sunday afternoon, June 2, Walpole High School held its commencement ceremony for graduating seniors. In front of packed bleachers on the football field, the class both looked towards its future and reflected on its united past.
Boston College-bound valedictorian Reshma Abraham delivered a poignant speech that began with a timely joke about finales. “Class of 2019, today marks the ending of our chapter together,” she began. “Okay, it may not be as momentous as ‘Endgame’ or the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale,” she continued, “but it’s still pretty special.”
While Abraham’s speech was better written that the last season of the hit HBO show, it was another piece of fiction, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” that framed her message, as she introduced the graduates to her version of the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future: the Ghosts of Freshman Year, Senior Year and the Ghost of Yet to Come.
The Ghost of Freshman Year represented the nervy, anxious, lost and scared - but also curious and inquisitive - people that entered Walpole High. “While those days may be long gone,” she noted, “the Ghost of Freshman Year would tell us to stay curious. The amount of knowledge we as humans collectively possess doubles every day, meaning there is so much to learn from each other and the world around us. No matter the direction our story takes from this point forward, whether it’s the first day of college, a job interview, or military school, let us remain as inquisitive as our freshman selves and never stop asking questions.”
The Ghost of Senior Year was one that was both able to maintain its own schedule and willing to help its fellow man. “Let’s create schedules that speak to who we are and ensure we find time for what we love, whether it’s music or art or film,” said Abraham. “No one better exemplified this idea than our dear friend and peer, Anthony Conti. In the interval of time he had, Anthony showed us to how lead a meaningful life and left a profound impact on those around him. One day, when we look back at our lives, let’s make sure our schedules have meaning to us and others.”
Finally, the Ghost of Yet to Come was one that will be forced to confront the most pressing issues of the day, but who has been prepared to do so by four years of life at Walpole High.
“All I know for certain is that we belong to a generation that must be prepared to confront immense challenges, ranging from the impact of climate change to various forms of societal oppression. Class of 2019, having witnessed our growth over the past four years, I can confidently say no one is better prepared to face these obstacles than us.”
While many of the day’s speeches spoke of service to the community during the ceremony, School Nurse Rachel Jackson deserves credit for demonstrating it. At one point, an older woman in the crowd needed medical assistance and Jackson was quick to help the paramedics in treating the woman, who was eventually led out on a stretcher. It was a hot day, and the woman was likely suffering from a heat-related illness.
While all sorts of caps were decorated with everything from inside jokes to funny messages, Myles Qualter’s cap with a giant pink Beanie Baby glued on to it was by far the most notable.
“For film every year, we’re assigned Beanie Boos that we clip to our cameras so they’re easier to find,” he explained. Myles will be studying film next year at Columbia College of Chicago. It was unclear if his Beanie Boo would be going with him.
Heading to UMass Lowell to study plastic engineering, William Sicard encapsulated the majority of the graduates’ feelings on the day, noting that “it’s been a long, but fun four years.” Sicard pointed to his work with the robotics team, particularly getting to compete in the World Championships in Detroit.
On Sunday, Walpole’s young graduates moved into adulthood well prepared to take on the challenges life in 2019 presents. Having supported each other, and mourned the loss of one of their own, they will surely be ready for the challenges that lie ahead in the person of the Ghost of Yet to Come.
God bless them, every one.