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Red carnations help Pittsfield graduates blossom 

  • Anne Banks the keynote speaker chosen by the class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Tucker Wolfe gives the Valedictorian Address at the class of 2018 graduation from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Casey Clark gives the Welcome speech at the Class of 2018 graduation from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Michael Wolf gives remarks at the class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Bea Douglass hands out Rotary Club Scholarships to the Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield on Saturday. Maddie Vanderpool / Monitor staff

  • Emily Dunagin give the Salutatorian Adress at the Class of 2018 graduation from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • As a reminder to not take life too seriously the keynote speaker gives the class of 2018 graduates red noses at the Pittsfield Middle High School graduation in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Jack Tobin presents the class gift at the Class of 2018 graduation from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Weston LeMay and Kegan Vincent give the Words of Farewell to the class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School hug during graduation on Saturday. Maddie Vanderpool / Monitor staff

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor

  • Class of 2018 graduates from Pittsfield Middle High School in Pittsfield, New Hampshire on June 06, 2018. Maddie Vanderpool—Concord Monitor



Monitor staff
Sunday, June 17, 2018

Traditions and symbols are always part of a high school graduation, and Saturday in Pittsfield was no different.

A likeness of the school mascot, a black panther, was seen all over the gym. Each of the 30 graduates wore a cap and gown as they walked toward the stage in that familiar left-right, right-left dance-looking movement.

Families clicked cell phone cameras, the smartest kids in the class addressed the packed gym and tassels moved from right to left when the ceremony was done.

And then there were the red carnations, given to students near the end of the ceremony, then handed out to loved ones as part of a unique Pittsfield tradition.

Graduates were given a minimum of five flowers as they left the stage. Some asked for more, their cheering sections simply too big. Then they moved through the tight aisles between the rows of chairs and climbed up the bleachers in the back, handing the carnations to moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents and great grandparents.

Gavin Knight got by with five carnations. He gave them to his mother, his grandmother, his friend’s mother and two cousins.

Speaking about his mother, Heidi Knight, Gavin said, “She’s always been there for me, always at my soccer games. Whenever I needed to talk to someone, she was there.”

Luanne Cardinal, Knight’s grandmother, got one, too. He calls her Nana.

“A lot of advice in certain situations,” Knight said. “I love her.”

Brianna Randall, who works at Barnstead Elementary School, needed seven carnations. She gave one each to her mother and father, saying, “I graduated a year early and they helped me a lot.”

Cameron Darrah needed a whopping 15 carnations to cover lots of members of his extended family.

His parents, Heidi and Jason Darrah, each got one, of course. Cameron played basketball, baseball and soccer, and said Heidi, “was always there for me, whether it was for sports or academically.”

Jason Darrah coached his son on the high school basketball team. “My biggest role model,” noted Cameron.

For Keagan Vincent, the appearance of his Aunt Sharon Streeter of Epsom held special meaning for him. Vincent suffers from mysterious seizures, sometimes on a daily basis.

“She was there for me when I went through a lot last year,” Vincent said.

Before the carnations were passed out, the students had the chance to inspire classmates through their words in front of the stage, where the Class of 2018 sat, watched and listened.

Salutatorian Emily Dunagin called the graduation a “shining moment,” and said “learning will continue far beyond today.”

And valedictorian Tucker Wolfe added a nostalgic touch, reminding students that “many of us have known each other for 12 years.”

But the distribution of the red carnations represented the most powerful moments. One such example happened in the school parking lot, where Kyra Garvin noted that she’d given out eight flowers, including one to her music teacher, Kevin Cleary, for helping her learn to play violin, piano and ukulele.

No one, though, had more of an impact on her life than her sister, 16-year-old Carolley Garvin, who stood a few feet away in the bright sun.

“She’s like the closest person in my life,” Kyra Garvin said. “She’s my best friend and she’s more than that. I’ve been able to mentor her. She makes me happy.”