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‘You need to go do great things’

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Principle Thomas Laliberte Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School teacher Michael McMaugh giving the Graduation Address at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • The 96 graduating seniors of the Winnisquam Regional High School Class of 2016 gets ready to enter a commencement ceremony on Friday night. JENNIFER MELI / Monitor staff

  • —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Principle Thomas Laliberte gives the principal welcome speech at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Salutatorian Tea Michaloski, gives the Closing Address for the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Class of 2016 President, Ryan Fowler, gibves the class welcome speech at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Commencement 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Valedictorian, Nicholas Newell, gives the Valedictory Address at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Chamber Chior performs at The Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Valedictorian, Nicholas Newell, gives the Valedictory Address at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI

  • Winnisquam Regional High School Class of 2016 President, Ryan Fowler, gibves the class welcome speech at the Commencement Ceremony 2016 June 10, 2016 (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff) —JENNIFER MELI



Monitor staff
Saturday, June 11, 2016

In the middle of Winnisquam Regional High School’s graduation ceremony Friday night, social studies teacher Michael McMaugh finished his speech and left the building, with “Already Gone” by the Eagles blasting over the gym speakers.

“You’ll never see me again, most of you,” McMaugh said, seconds before his grand exit. “And that’s a good thing. You need to go do great things.”

“As my grandma said, don’t leave your kids scratching their heads for obituary material,” he added.

The 98 members of this year’s graduating class will go on to college, the workforce, trade school and the military. However, for the time being, class president Ryan Fowler encouraged his classmates to “relish in the moment.”

“Now is our time. Now is celebration time. Who cares time. Time to have a ball,” he said. “It’s time for us to go out and grab life by the horns and take a huge step in the world.”

The Class of 2016 was a particularly tight-knit group, WRHS Principal Tom Laliberte said.

“Look to your right, look to your left, look across the stage and reflect on the great friendships, laughs, practices, rehearsals, shows, games and the many experiences that you have shared,” he said.

Valedictorian Nicholas Newell agreed, reminiscing on all the memories he shared with his peers over the course of the past 1,460 days.

“It’s like one big, dysfunctional, loving family,” he said. “Everyone has their role, everyone has their place. There’s no one that’s left out.”

Salutatorian Tea Michaloski, who will attend the University of Florida in the fall, said the feelings that accompany graduation – excitement, nervousness, happiness and a little bit of sadness – were finally starting to sink in.

“People are right when they say four years fly by,” she added.

The students credited the school with shaping them into the young men and women they are today.

“The teenager who entered high school four years ago and the man who stands before you are two entirely different people,” said Newell, who will soon head off to Syracuse University.

In addition to thanking the school, each student thanked an individual that played an important role in their success by giving them a flower.

Fowler said the class has been an integral part of the community, taking pride in the place they call home.

“I see the same faces around that I did in first grade and middle school. Those are my friends and acquaintances that I know and love,” he said. “But you all may see many others – one’s that have aged and matured into beautiful people.”

“And others, like myself, that still have a bit of beautifying to do,” the senior joked.

Just as the school made a mark on its students, McMaugh gave the students a chance to leave behind a legacy of their own. Each senior found a post-it note and pencil under his or her chair, on which McMaugh instructed them to write a piece of advice to incoming freshmen. He plans to hang the notes in his classroom for future students to see.

“You’ll be immortalized in sticky notes,” he said.

The teacher also left the graduates two pieces of advice: don’t be stupid and try your best.

These words of wisdom are applicable when discussing almost any situation, the teacher said – careers, friendships, romantic relationships, finances, college, families, politics and many, many other parts of life.

Then later, with McMaugh long-gone and their diplomas secured, the students turned their tassels – celebrating four years of both hard work and fun times, ready to face their social studies teacher’s challenge to go out and do great things.

   (Katie Galioto can be reached at 369-3302, kgalioto@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @katiegalioto.)