By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven High School sent 149 graduates into the world on Sunday, 6/5/22, at a commencement ceremony under sunny skies and warm breezes.
“You – now – with your innocence, grace, angel face, and fresh ideas set the tone for your future and what becomes of it,” principal Andrew Kulak told them.
He said their class had two of their four years disrupted by the pandemic, and those who responded with a “little love and kindness” probably made it through “just a little bit easier, and maybe with a few more smiles.”
He said they adjusted to the challenges of the pandemic with pride and dignity.
“For whatever challenge you face in your life – some big some small – remember to add a little love and kindness to how you meet those challenges,” said Mr. Kulak. “It will help to restore some pride and dignity, and keep the despair at bay.”
He told them they were no longer students, but now were alumni of “this remarkable school.”
“Your time as students was short but you will be a part of this school as alumni forever,” he said.
Superintendent Tara Kohler also noted the challenges of the pandemic on their four years, saying she was proud of each and every one of them.
“Remember the resilience you already had, and will have the rest of your life,” said Ms. Kohler.
But her strongest message was for them to enjoy the moment, to relish i the success that the day represented.
“Take this in. This is a huge accomplishment,” said Ms. Kohler. “Sit in it.”
She told them not rush to the next thing, but to give themselves some space, enjoy the summer.
“Have fun, dance,” she said, whatever they do to be happy, but most of all, “sit in this accomplishment.”
Salutatorian Mason Forcier congratulated his fellow graduates on reaching their milestone.
“Today marks the end of a four-year journey where we made new friends, expanded our horizons, and made memories that will last a lifetime,” said Mr. Forcier.
He said when he first stepped into the school, he did not think about graduating, it all felt so far away. But each year quickly turned into the next.
“And all of a sudden here I am, at the end of my senior year, speaking in front of all of you about how quickly those four years went by,” he said, then quickly ran through list of some of the classes and other experiences he had. “I met numerous amazing friends and teachers who gave me lasting memories and taught me valuable life lessons.”
One lesson he learned on his own, he said, was to make the most out of the opportunities at hand.
“Because I may never get those opportunities again,” said Mr. Forcier, who then explained that he finally joined the math club and liked it.
“I guess what I’m trying to say with all of this is that you should never shy away from a new opportunity, because it may not come around again and you may be missing out on a great experience,” said Mr. Forcier.
He then thanked those who helped him along the way, adding, “This truly was a fantastic year.”
Valedictorian Mindy Zhang told her classmates not to let preconceived notions control them.
“Step outside of everything you thought you knew,” said Ms. Zhang. “Recognize that every single one of us possess only a fragment of everything there is to know and experience in the world. But that’s why having each other is so important, and why friends are so precious.”
She said alone they are defined by their own limitations, but when they meet people of different backgrounds and learn from each other, they experience things they would otherwise have missed.
“That is ultimately what life is: a celebration of not only what humans as individuals are capable of, but also all the wonderful things that can be achieved together,” said Ms. Zhang.
She encouraged her fellow graduates to thank somebody in the crowd.
“Remember your time at Fairhaven High, how you grew, how progress involves both successes and failures,” said Ms. Zhang. “Enjoy today, know that there is always a tomorrow, and look forward to the years to come. We are all moments in history.”
After the ceremony, students and families hung around the football field and around the school taking pictures and saying goodbyes.
Emma Fleurent said she was excited.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” she said.
Her next stop is to continue her education at SMEC.
Elisa Correia said she was excited to be finally done. She is headed to Bristol Community College (BCC) next year to major in Psychology.
“Happy,” said Heather Perry, who is headed to UMassD next year to major in Marine Biology.
“I want to always be by the ocean,” she said.
“I was gassed to get my diploma,” said Chelsey Goldrick. “I worked really hard for this. I’m proud of myself.”
She is headed to BCC next year without a specific major in mind.
Click here to download the entire 6/9/22 issue: 06-09-22 Grad_REV_AllColor
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal