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A Brave and Bold Class

If the raindrops helped hide the tears, and the clouds hid the tropical sun, and the wind provided a much-needed breeze, they also hallmarked and reminded all present of the challenges and triumphs of this school year.  The doors opened in August and stayed open through the end of the school year.  Throughout the year there were obstacles that brought tears and great accomplishments that brought smiles, most of all, there was simply nothing that would keep the Class of 2021 from reaching this moment.  

A year that began so very tentatively, and continued through tough decisions and altered plans, the class of 2021 in many ways, showed the adults around them how to soar, despite all odds.  On Sunday, June 6th, 183 Hanover seniors crossed the stage to accept a diploma that represents only the beginning of lives that will be successful, simply because they have learned how to overcome the most extensive obstacles. 

Principal Tami Kepshire addresses her Senior class for the final time.  

“This class of seniors has shown adaptability and perseverance in a year of ever-changing health protocols. These seniors set the tone, as they followed the guidelines set forth to allow us to remain open. Though some may not have liked it, they did it because it was necessary. Without their help, our doors would have been closed. I have no doubt this group will be successful, as their grit and determination to get to the finish line will forever be ingrained. Nothing will stop them from attaining their goals,” said Hanover Central High School Principal Tami Kepshire, prior to graduation.

Nathaniel Remaly offered the welcome with a strong breeze blowing and a microphone that initially didn’t want to cooperate.  Nathaniel smiled through it all and again showed us why this class is so special.

boy at microphone

Nathan Remaly battles a strong wind and a stuborn microphone. 

Senior class President, Madison Victor offered a few words to her classmates that re-enforced the message that they know what they had been through, they know that they persevered, and they knew they deserved this moment to shine. 

Madison Victor

girl singing

 A stunning rendition of the Naational Anthem by Charity Anselmo.

Guidance Counselor, Cody Tatro, asked students and groups of students to be recognized for the colleges they will attend, the technical schools and apprenticeships they will participate in, the branches of the military they will serve in, and those that will directly enter the workforce.  Each student and groups of students received applause from the parents, staff and guests who will continue to support these students in the future.  Whether they are teachers who will have flashbacks to a special moment with a student, or parents who will continue to provide the guidance and lessons needed for a successful future, to extended family and community who want nothing but the best for these students.  The appreciation for the future plans was real and welcome.

man in robe

Guidance Counselor, Cody Tatro, is excited as he prepares to highlight the future plans of every single graduate.  

Whether they were headed into the military, college, a technical or trade program, or directly into the workforce graduates receive applause and recognition from the guests in the stands and, perhaps even more meanigingful, from their peers.  

Salutatorian Kayla Drewno reflected on what her years at Hanover taught her, and how moving forward she is determined to continue to learn, no matter what path her life may take.  “Everything that we have gained from our time here can help us going forward into whatever we decide to do next. There have been many challenges we have needed to overcome, from finding time to do homework to dealing with a pandemic. If we can survive this, there is a lot more that we can and will survive. So I challenge you all to apply the things that you have learned. Look back on your time here to see the activities that you enjoy, and the lessons that you have learned, and the skills that you are good at. From there, you can work on growing yourself. There will always be new problems and challenges to overcome, so if I could give one piece of advice, it would be to never stop learning,” she told her classmates and the families gathered for this very special milestone.

girl at mic

Kayla Drewno 

Valedictorian, Katie Jackowski managed to share intense feelings and a strong belief in the future as she related a very personal story about her brother Jake, the President of the Class of 2018. 

Kathryn Jackowski

“Three years ago, I was blessed enough to be able to watch my brother, Jake, give a speech at graduation as the President of the Class of 2018, and he mentioned a quote from “The Scientist,” by Coldplay, that has been stuck in the back of my mine since the day he said his speech.  The quote is, “Nobody said it was easy/No one ever said it would be this hard.”  I have imagined my graduation day for so many years, and this quote always would pop into my head whenever I would think about graduation.  I would always think, “Was he right?  Is it really that hard to let go?”  Now that I am here, my answer is yes and no,” as she went on to explain why both sides of the statement are true.  “With all that, I would like to share the missing piece to this story that was not told in Jake’s speech, that further shows how applicable this quote is to our current situation.  It was the last day of his senior year, which was my freshman year, and the seniors were doing the wonderful tradition of pelting the underclassmen with water balloons.  After getting numerous water balloons thrown at me, and several large buckets of water dumped on me, Jake and I were headed home from out last day of school together, ever.  As soon as we got in the car, (I can’t speak for him, but I know) I was super emotional, and I think he was too.  We both sat in silence in the car as we drove home, listening to the radio, and “The Scientist” randomly came on.  We both knew this song very well, so when I heard those piano notes at the beginning, I just stared out the window as a steady stream of tears fell down my face, thinking about how I would never get to go to school with one of my brothers ever again.  For weeks before that moment, I had thought of what it would feel like to be in that exact moment, and I quickly realized that nothing could have prepared me for it.  I was a wreck and I didn’t want to let go of that school year.  No one told me it would be easy, but no one told me it would be that hard…We have to learn to let go and let each other move on towards our goals and dreams, no matter how hard it may be.”  Katie closed out her remarks telling her classmates; “Hanover Central Class of 2021, I urge you to follow where your heart leads you and to pave our own path that makes you the happiest.  Your greatest achievements will not be simply what you did in high school, there is so much more waiting for you to accomplish.” 

Superintendent, Mary Tracy-MacAulay, told the students; “I just asked Ms. Kepshire to take a picture of all of you here today.  Every graduating class is very special, but this particular picture, is one that will be framed and placed in my office.”  She then offered her top ten reasons this class is different than any other that came before it, and different than any class that will follow.  Tears could be seen in the eyes of students who remembered just how difficult the year had been.

Mary MacAulay

Superintendent, Mary Tracy-MacAulay

Mrs. MacAulay shared words from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in April, 1910 that speaks volumes about the tenacity of this class.   Titled, The Man in the Arena, she shared the following brief segment:  It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  Graduates of 2021, as you leave Hanover, know this will always be your home.  And, in all that you do…DARE GREATLY.

Students were called, one by one by Assistant Principal Lori Bathurst, to take their final walk as members of the Hanover Central High School student body. 

Students were given their diplomas by Principal Tami Kepshire.  

Superintendent Mary Tracy-MacAulay offer her congratulations to gradute Corinne Meekma as the rain begins to fall. 

Graduate, Aidan Beilke was fortunate enough to be offered congratulations on stage by his Mom, Board Member Tara Beilke.

Students do their best to stay dry in line.

They were greeted by Principal Kepshire and Superintendent MacAulay, before being offered congratulations by School Board members, Connie Sterkowitz, Tracy Haskell, Tara Beilke and James Sakelaris.  Helped from the stage and down the stairs by Dean of Students, David Arroyo, and Teacher, Steve Gustas, none seemed fazed by the falling rain that dotted their gowns and dampened their hair.

 At a certain point, the rain simply became funny and unavoidable.  

They had made it.  They were moving on.  They were about to face a future with new found strength and the ability to accomplish, well just about anything!

Rebecca Zimmer tells the graduates to move their tassels.  

...and the hats were in the air! 

Oh the hats!  They were unique, personalized and simply AMAZING.

 

Congratulations Class of 2021