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John Stark graduates encouraged to give back as they begin a new chapter

  • Megan Newhall receives her diploma during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Megan Newhall walks back to her seat after receiving her diploma during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Joseph Wilson waves to the audience during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Senior executive council member Rachael Wrzeszcz speaks during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Senior executive council member Rachael Wrzeszcz speaks during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Senior Skylar Bergeron gives the salutatory address during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Superintendent of Schools Lorraine Tacconi-Moore speaks during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Senior Marisa Dobbins gives the valedictory address during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Principal Christopher Corkery speaks during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Lawson Murphy walks back to his seat during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Kyle Hagman waits in line to receive his diploma during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Troy Gamache receives his diploma during the John Stark Regional High School graduation at the school in Weare on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Monday, June 18, 2018

Eighteen-year-old Megan Newhall graduated from John Stark Regional High School on Saturday with a self-published book already on her resume and her final product now part of the school’s library.

Her love of volunteering and helping others in her community inspired her to focus her senior capstone project on the plight of the homeless in New Hampshire, including first-hand accounts from those using the services of Family Promise of Greater Concord and the Friendly Kitchen.

“I realized how many little things I often take for granted,” Newhall said in an interview prior to Saturday’s annual commencement. “For example, one of the girls volunteering at the Friendly Kitchen asked me one day if I straightened my hair. She said, ‘I really miss being able to straighten my hair and put on makeup.’ I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I don’t even give that a second thought – and here is someone who doesn’t have that luxury.”

Newhall has participated in several missionary trips through her church, Wesley United Methodist Church of Concord, where she discovered her passion for working with those less fortunate. By continuing her studies at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where she will enroll as a freshman this fall, she hopes to gain the skills to become a speech therapist to better assist people with disabilities and communication disorders.

“There is such a need for people in that line of work – and I thought what better way to help,” she said.

Giving to others and making a difference close to home are two goals her fellow classmates had in mind, too, when choosing this year’s senior class gift. In lieu of purchasing something for the Weare campus, the 156-member graduating class recognized a greater need in their surrounding community and chose to donate to the Henniker and Weare food pantries. The Global Partnership for Education, an international organization that helps children access quality education in the world’s poorest countries, will also receive a portion of the funds.

For the Class of 2018, Saturday’s ceremony marked the end of one chapter, but the beginning of so much more – and student leaders encouraged their classmates to embrace that change as they leave to make their mark on the world.

“If our mistakes are catalysts to our own acquisition of knowledge, then why not take risks?” salutatorian Skylar Bergeron asked her class. “As a generation that is just starting to dig into the earth to plant its roots, we are pushing the boundaries of what should be tolerated, what should be changed and what should be pursued. It is okay to challenge society, because the youth of right now will soon be leaders of that very same society – and it is never too early to start paving the way.”

While the future can seem daunting and the possibilities overwhelming, Bergeron encouraged graduates to remain curious and resilient no matter what life throws their way.

John Stark students will soon depart for new schools, cities and work experiences, but all began their educational journey in much the same way: learning in elementary school about the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, superintendent Lorraine Tacconi-Moore said. At Saturday’s ceremony, she encouraged graduates to hold on to a few more mantras, which she hopes they’ll remember years from now.

“Be helpful. Be courteous. Be unselfish. Be tolerant. Be gentle. Be decent. Be patient. Be sympathetic. Be considerate. Be understanding,” she said.” These are concepts that transcend any one content area and in the long run, will serve you as well as any academic learning that occurred has, as you enter the next phase of your life.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319.)