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Kearsarge Regional Class of 2013 lauded for ‘high bar’ it set

On a sun-splashed afternoon, Kearsarge Regional High School’s Class of 2013 was praised for its accomplishments inside and outside the classroom during graduation exercises held on the football field in Sutton yesterday.

“It is a high bar you have set,” said Superintendent of Schools Jerome Frew. “You’ve done a wonderful job and we congratulate you. We congratulate all classes, but this one is a little special.”

Before Frew came to the podium, high school Principal James Daley ran through a list of the accomplishments, asking the students involved to stand and be recognized. He called upon state champions, a girls’ team that won a sportsmanship award along with many others who excelled in the classroom, the arts and community service.

“This is just a sampling of the talent, courage, caring and dedication found in the Class of 2013,” Daley said. “You will be missed.”

Class President Dorothy Parsons noted that had the graduates completed just the minimum of 20 hours of community service, the total would have approached 2,700 hours. But the actual number of hours topped 4,700, she said, prompting a loud applause.

Echoing Frew’s comment about setting the bar high, Parsons said she was proud of the class. And while they will take different paths now, Parsons said they should “always remember what a group like ours is able to accomplish.”

As is tradition at Kearsarge, the ceremony began with faculty moving between lines of graduates, giving hugs, handshakes and congratulations as Andrew Bragg played “Scotland the Brave” and “The Rose of Allendale” on the piano.

Then, with Will Ogmundson, a 1995 Kearsarge graduate playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” the class marched down the center aisle to the stage.

Kindergartners, holding yellow flags and wearing shirts emblazoned with “Class of 2025,” sang “God Bless America” and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The high school choir sang the national anthem and gave a rendition of the 1970s Bill Withers song “Lean on Me.”

Salutatorian Olivia Carle, who will attend Tufts University in the fall, said she struggled to develop an idea for her speech.

“It’s been a long journey for all of us,” Carle began. “But we are here and we’ve changed.”

Carle eventually settled on the concept of finding truth, she said.

“I hope you will take time and look around and ask, ‘Why?’ Ask, ‘What?’ It is crucial for the movement of the world, and you have always been a part of the world,” Carle said.

“So search for individual truth. Look within yourself. Wonder at nature. Question others.

“Congratulations, truth seekers. You are never done,” she concluded.

Valedictorian Caitlin Jo Anderson will study biology at Dartmouth this fall. In her remarks, she recounted how she and her classmates grew and matured from their first days in high school and forged strong relationships with each other and teachers. They became state champions, all-star musicians, chefs, dancers, writers and more, and as they go their separate ways, they will always carry “a little bit of Keasarge in our hearts.

“We will never lose the memories, and we will never forget the relationships, the school and the people who helped make us who we are today,” Anderson said.

Yesterday’s ceremony paid tribute to Ernest Mills, who is retiring after 25 years as music director at Kearsarge. The 2013 yearbook is dedicated to him.

Daley praised Mills for his teaching, performing, character development and community spirit.

Parents were thanked for their “sacrifice, guidance and support” for Kearsarge School District.

“Thank you also for trusting us with your most valuable possession,” said Daley, who also thanked the faculty for its influence on the students.

The ceremony concluded with fireworks and a recessional song, “Highland Cathedral,” as students left the stage and mingled with family and friends for photos.

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