Hopkinton High School graduates are told to become best version of themselves

  • Graduates of Hopkinton High School’s Class of 2019 make their way across the parking lot to Durgin Arena on the Hopkinton Fairgrounds on Friday evening. Alyssa Dandrea / Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton High School graduates fix their tassels as the wind blows outside Durgin Arena on the Hopkinton Fairgrounds. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton High School graduates and members of the chorus sing “River and Roads” by the Head and the Heart during Friday’s commencement ceremony at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton High School graduates prepare to process into Durgin Arena on the Hopkinton Fairgrounds. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton High School graduates pose for a class photo in the school’s gymnasium prior to processing into the barn on the Hopkinton Fairgrounds on Friday night. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Graduates take their final walk as seniors outside Hopkinton High School on Friday night. —Alyssa Dandrea/Monitor staff

  • Graduating senior Myah Kerbyson decorated her graduation cap to read, “Thanks for the adventures.”

Monitor staff
Published: 6/14/2019 10:09:15 PM
Modified: 6/14/2019 10:09:03 PM

Take one day at a time.

Laugh often.

Make mistakes and forgive yourself for them.

Those are just a few words of advice Hopkinton High School’s graduating class received Friday night as they set shoulder-to-shoulder with their classmates overlooking a crowd of family members, friends and teachers. Under the lights of the Durgin Arena on the Hopkinton Fairgrounds, 64 graduates reflected on their fondest memories of high school while also embracing the changes that lie ahead.

Members of the Class of 2019 have enrolled in 26 colleges and universities. While many graduates will continue their education, others have chosen a path of military service and some to enter the workforce. But no matter what is next, they’ll need to continue to take risks and accept the challenges that await them, Principal Christopher Kelley said.

“Life doesn’t stand still and neither should the Class of 2019,” he said.

As graduates prepare for their next steps, Superintendent Steven Chamberlin wanted them to know that high school doesn’t forever shape who they are; instead, it is part of a larger journey toward self-discovery.

“What I want for you is what I want for my own children,” he said. “I want you to embrace this notion that life is about a journey to become the best version of yourself.”

Life can be messy and learning can be messy, but that’s okay, he said. To get through those moments, he encouraged members of the Class of 2019 to first take care of themselves, to nurture their minds, bodies and spirits because only then can they help others.

For Salutatorian Clara Walling part of that self-care routine has meant taking one day at a time. It’ s a skill she learned as a player on the varsity field hockey team and then took with her as a member of the school’s softball team.

“It helps me to focus on what matters,” she said, while noting it also reminds her to take breaks when she needs them.

There aren’t enough days in a year or in a lifetime, so don’t waste them dwelling on mistakes or let them pass by unnoticed, Walling said.

“My teammates often reminded me of where I came from but also challenged me to see where I was going,” she said, jokingly adding, “which is the reason we’re all here today in a horse barn.”

In response, the laughter of graduates and their loved ones erupted in the iconic Hopkinton barn that has long housed commencement ceremonies. On Friday night, the sun peaked through the multiple entryways and the high wooden ceiling allowed sounds to reach far and wide.

As the ceremony’s chosen commencement speaker, social studies teacher Robert Nadeau had a message for graduates that rang loud and clear in an age when so many people are often glued to their cellphones and to social media: celebrity is not necessarily synonymous with expertise and knowledge.

He cautioned graduates to not look to celebrities for guidance or as symbols of who they wish to become; rather, he encouraged them to turn to family members, friends and neighbors who’ve played an important role in their lives at one point in time.

“Look to the people around you who are in this room and make sound and good judgments,” Nadeau said.

Although not all of the graduates seated Friday night had a clear vision of the road that awaits them, Valedictorian Lily Tobin said she is confident that each member of her class is ready to do their part to make the world a better place.

Drawing from the song “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads, she said, “Remember we’re all on the road to somewhere even if we just aren’t quite sure where that is yet.”

She said she hopes that 50 years from now people will look back and recognize the positive contributions made by members of Hopkinton’s Class of 2019.

“They will say, ‘Think of the situations the world would be in now if it weren’t for those meddling kids.’ ”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 or at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)

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