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Merrimack Valley bids farewell to ‘special’ graduating class

  • Merrimack Valley graduate Kylee Warren shouts out to her family as she marches in with her classmates on Saturday, June 16, 2018 in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School graduates Dakotah Drew (left) Makenzie Loren (center) and Roma Minery wait to let other seniors into the school before the ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The phrase “Veni, Vidi, Vici” which mean "to come", "to see", and "to conquer" in Latin is scrolled on the back of a cap before the graduates head out on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley graduate Kylee Warren shows her diploma to the crowd as she marches with classmates Saturday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Music teacher Maggie Oswald and her senior students duplicate a pose from last year’s band camp at the Merrimack Valley High School aditorium before the graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley graduate Eddie Hoyt celebrates with family and friends after the ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School graduates march into the back fields of the school on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley High School graduate Ryan Heath listens to the applause of his speech on Saturday, June 16, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ryan Heath likes to joke that the Merrimack Valley High School Class of 2018 is the best class the school has ever seen.

They were the class that saw the boys’ basketball team make it to the Division II semifinals, and the school celebrate its 50-year anniversary by planning a new MVHS athletics hall of fame.

The Class of 2018 also won three New Hampshire scholastic awards in art and one in writing, and cheered on senior tap dancer Eddie Hoyt as he competed on the national talent television show So You Think You Can Dance.

But Heath said it was more than those accomplishments that made his senior class stand out.

“It’s not just the ability that has made this class special. It’s the attitudes, motivations and dreams of the people in it,” Heath said.

His peers in the Class of 2018 are some of the most  thoughtful, interesting and well-spoken people he’s known, Heath said in his address during Merrimack Valley High School’s gradation on Saturday.

That means people like Parish Mahoney, who spent his senior year working on an interactive website for people with disabilities. Or Jacob Barrington, who is going to Texas this summer to complete basic training with the National Guard.

Those positive traits have made for the making of many wonderful memories during the class’s 12 years of schooling, Heath said. For example, when the class put on a flash mob at their eighth grade graduation, or when they danced en masse to the Cotton Eyed Joe and the Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega at school dances.

With so many good memories, it’s normal to feel sad about leaving those times behind, student speaker Hailley Simpson said.

“Perhaps, if we could, we would wish to relieve the memories that took place out on the playground after lunch at the elementary school, where we would play soccer, four square and make believe with our imaginative friends,” Simpson said.

But instead of getting caught up in the past, it’s important to celebrate those moments and hold them close – even years down the road, Simpson said.

“Every now and again, the nostalgia will hit you, and you’ll remember the time in the middle school gym or the high school pep rallies, or the seats you sat in on this day ... Remember to savor these moments. Embrace the nostalgia,” Simpson said.

Senior Kaitlyn Covell said that graduates should also embrace fear going into the future.

“It’s okay to be nervous, and it’s okay to be unsure,” Covell said. “We will surely face many challenges in our lives, but I encourage you to find something that will keep you motivated and make you happy.”

Principal David Miller handed out diplomas to the Class of 2018’s almost 200 graduates after all the speeches were made and all the accolades celebrated. He agreed that the Class of 2018 was indeed a very special class.

“Whether you’re about to go to college, enter a career or enlist in the military, we are confident that you will make the world a better place,” he said. “You are a special group of students who I will always remember.”