The soon-to-be-graduates streamed onto Alumni Field in their black regalia. As they took their seats, waiting for the last formal function of their high school careers to start, the sky above them darkened.
But Keene High’s class of 2019 wasn’t deterred, according to Principal James Logan. They wanted the ceremony outside — and though it looked like rain was coming, the ominous clouds brought no precipitation.
Logan’s speech, the first of several at Friday’s ceremony, invited the audience to savor the now. Time, he said, figures into everything. But time is also finite, and there are no guarantees beyond the present. He encouraged the class of 2019 to spend each moment wisely, focusing on what and who they love.
“Time is something you cannot take back,” he said. “... You can look back at it, but you can never duplicate the moment. No matter how hard you try, it will not be the same. So stay in the moment and enjoy the time you have. Spend it with the people you like, doing the things that bring you to your happy spot.”
While Logan’s speech focused on the present, valedictorian Ryan A. Walton reflected on the events that had shaped his class. Calling his classmates “exceptional in their achievements,” he asked them to remember their years at Keene High.
“Our high school years will always be a part of us,” he said. “... As we look ahead to the future, we must be open-minded and kind when meeting other people, value others and respect their individuality.”
The class’ future, he said, is bright.
“Whatever our next pursuits may be, we are ready,” he said. “We will take what we’ve learned and make something of it. We will make new friends, extend ourselves ... and ultimately make the world a better place.”
Student speaker Conor Hill asked his classmates to put an end to hate, fear and divisiveness, a feat he said the class of 2019 — part of “a generation of hope and wonder” is capable of.
“We are going to keep the big picture in mind and understand that the isolation of our only home is not a burden but a responsibility — a responsibility that cannot allow for any compromise when tackling the issues that define our generation,” he said. “It will take each and every one of us to create a world that we want to live in.”
The class of 2019 had more than 250 graduates, according to the graduation program. The high school, which belongs to N.H. School Administrative Unit 29, has students from Chesterfield, Harrisville, Keene, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson and Westmoreland, along with Stoddard, Surry, Sullivan and Winchester.
Shortly before Friday’s ceremony, Taelar Forcier, 17, of Nelson, said she hasn’t yet adjusted to graduating. Forcier will study project management in the fall at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She chose the major, she said, because she enjoys teamwork.
“It hasn’t quite hit me yet,” she said. “It’s bittersweet to be standing here because I’m watching all of my friends graduate and then I’m saying goodbye to all the teachers I had for four consecutive years.”
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Collins, Walter Richard Cook, Emily Margaret Coppola, Michael Patrick Corcoran, Jordan Cormier, Vincent Robert Cormier, Sara Elizabeth Corrieri, Camille Joyce Coulborn, Imani Helen Cousins, Shelby Elizabeth Cranston-Weaver, Charles Edward Crisman, Denali Cassin Croteau, Kayla Cushing, Ashley Susan Cushman, Daylen Christian Danforth, Clarice Rae Davis, Avery Bella Scarlett Dellogono, Nathan Keith DeMond, Danielle Hope Dexter, Ariana Ester DiBenedetto, Julia Ann Ditri, Angel Marguerite Doty, Makayla Diane Doyon, Hannah Marie Drew, Parker Joseph Driscoll, Stephen Edward Droppa, Richard Frederick Durkee, Reese Alexia Earle, Michael Robert Edaugal, Brenna Dale Erickson, David Timothy Erunski, Camilla Grace Evans, Elizabeth Katherine Everitt, Kalea Ann Ezequelle, Angela Marie Fairbanks, Pauline Alexandra Farrington, Owen Thomas Fauth, Tessa Lynn Federico-Maietta, Wyatt Joseph Ferrando, Antony Salvator Ferrera, Daunte Jevon Fields, Grace Anne Finch, Clara Petra Fisher, Nathan James Fisher, Olivia Carrie Fisher, Traelor Nicole Fisher, Jaiden Sage Flanders, Gabriel Evan Fletcher, Wendy Michelle Foote, Devan Scott Forbes, Taelar Forcier, Emily L. Ford-Callahan, Laura Jane Fryberger, Jack Harrison Gagnon, Kyle David Garrapy, Maya Grace Gempler, Chrysovalandi Dimitri Glimenakis, Ryan Thomas Goodwin, Elijah Oleg Griffiths, Demetri Dantony Grosner, Abagayle Ruth Hamelin, Natalie Hanna, Evan Richard Hardy, Hannah Marie Harrold, Audra Gayle Hartman, Molly Elizabeth Harvey, Emily Jane Hastings, Eleanor Hayward, Megan Rebecca Healey, Evan Louis Heath, Helen M. Heneghan, Mario Daniel Henkel, Conor Thomas Hill, Gabriel Donovan Hill, Isabella Naomi Hof, Samuel Riley Hoffman, Sola Joy Hoffman, Dakota-Jo E. Hope, Rowen Thomas Hopkins, William Parker Horne, Cierra Ann Horton, Mayzie Lynn Hunter, William Frederick Huntley, Samuel David Hussey, Samuel Day Franklin Induni, Matthew Alan Jankowski, Rhiannon Leigh Jarvis, Alexandra Irene Isabell Jutras, Danni Keating, Ryan Benjamin Kilanski, Aidan Sean Kindopp, Manning Jayson Kirker, Darsean Joseph Kirkwood, Anthony Keeden Knight, Claira Knox-Cook, Logan Alexander Kordana, Karrie Irene Kosakowski, Benjamin Thomas Koski, Edgardo Alberto Lagares Rivera, Emily Grace Lake, Edward John Lambert III, Nathan Christopher Landfried, Hannah Catherine Landry, Ryleigh Jean Lane, Dana Joseph Laraba, Cierra Ann Larkin, Audrianna Marie Lavertue, Chloe Michelle Leach, Alyson Lemnah, Madelyn Colby Leonard, Taylor Michael Letourneau, Joshua Ralpheal Levasseur, Maxwell Noah Lieberstein, William Ross Lindsay, Anthony James Maiella, Sabine Doris Maloney, Gabriella Maragh, Lise Anne Marion, Grace Michele Marsh, Jonathan Prentice Allen Marsh, Lucy Isabella Marshall, Lila Grace Masterson, Daniel William McCann, Benjamin James McRae, Grace Eva Menard, Tyler Andrew Menard, Lacey Kay Mercure, Alexa Ruby Merkle, Amber Rose Merkle, Meghan Erin Michaud, Natalie Elizabeth Mills, Adam Kevin Charles Minahan, Emily Rose Miner, Abigail Grace Mitchell, Zander Nicholas Caron Mitchell, Jonathan Amos Moody, Eliot Parks Morrison, Marissa Morton, Mikayla Kathleen Mousseau, Rylee Anne Moxham, Emma Murphy, Keegan Patrick Murphy, Hazel Florence Neary, Alexis Nephew, Kavi Lauri Desai Neva, Elizabeth Ryan Newell, Nickeya Gabriella Nickerson, Carson Edward O’Neil, Zachary N. Oliveira, Alexander Christian Opsahl, Jay Rajeshkumar Patel, Faith Olivia Patenaude, Tobin Keith Patnaude, Mason James Patten, Thomas Carl Patterson, Olivia Janice Payne, Richard Alexander Pearce, Luke Owen Pellerin, Hannah Florence Pepin, Angela Nicole Pereira, Nicole R. Perra, Brittney Lynn Phelps, Graysen Margaret Phippard, Spencer Leslie Pitts, Thomas Akira Pitts, Randy Travis Plummer, Margaret Rose Yangli Polifrone, Jared P. Pollock, Lauren Marie Priest, Evelyn Victoria Proctor, Eric Reid Ramirez, Kevin Scott Ranagan, Alexandru C. Richards, Yelena Rebecca Rodolitz, Thomas Scott Rogers, Mallory Leighanne Roof, Paige Alexis Rountree, Jakob Johnson Rurka, Roger Austin Russell, Aaron Douglas Rychwa, Oniruddho Mohammad Saleh, Damien Manuel Salema, Damien Joseph Sanborn, Ailinn Frances Santos, Hayden Joseph Sarcione, Samuel Ellis Schrantz, Tiana Ruth Scott, Dimitri Paul Seger, Hailey Alexis Sevene, Fadil Sheikh, Rebekah Mary Sheridan Gasaway, Carter Alan Smith, Elizabeth Mary Squires, Caleb Flynn Stemp, Tyler James, Kendall Summers, Dylan Wesley Sutherland, Joseph Charles Swingle, Isaac Sylvern, Paige Hannah Symonds, Olivia Cassandra Targett, Lauren Elizabeth Taylor, Quinn O’Gara Thayer, Harry Christopher Thomas, Margaret Delia Thomas, Jack James Thorp, Charles Oliver Tousley, Simon Cole Tretler, Kyle Robert Trombley, Rachael Irene Trubiano, Emily Grace Tucker, LilyMarie Surrell Tucker, Hannah Marie Turcotte, Cameron G. Turgeon, Dustin Duke Tuttle, Keighley Grayce Urban, Zoey Cathryn Vichko, Abigail Katherine Von Plinsky, Dakota Scott Walker, Ryan Alexander Walton, Connor Jacob Ward, Paeton Mackenzie Ward, Timothy Allen Warren Jr., Sophie Eliza Waters, Job Rene Weghorst, Noah James Weston, Ian Patrick Whalen, Emma Katherine Whittemore, Hannah Grace Wilber, Ciana Rose Willette, Jakob D. Wilson-Thomas, Damien Taylor Winslow, Natalie Reid Wood, Macy Quinn Woudenberg, Samuel Aaron Wright, Johnny Zeng and Julia Nicole Zipoli.