By Beth David, Editor
The rain held out just long enough for 150 students to graduate from Fairhaven High School outside on Sunday, 6/4. A theme of unity and promise rang throughout the speeches. This year marked the first time that students all wore one color robe and girls and boys were not split up into two groups. In the past, the girls wore white and the boys wore blue, and never the twain shall meet
This year also marked the last graduation for long time Vice Principal MJ Muello, who is retiring in December. Principal Tara Quirk Kohler is also moving on to another position, but she will still be with the district as Assistant Superintendent.
Senior class president Brooke Douglass told her classmates that they are different people than they were four years ago.
She said that life will throw obstacles their way, but, “I am confident you will clear the hurdles.”
The most valuable lesson, she told them, is to, “Appreciate life, make the most of everything.”
“Life is a gift,” she said.
Jessica Rinker took her classmates on a trip down memory lane, with many a joke that only they would understand.
She told them that they started out as two groups: The Acushnet kids and the Fairhaven kids. But now they are united as one graduating class.
Ms. Rinker said that people misunderstand what unity is. That it does not mean they will agree on everything.
She said unity started the moment they walked through the door their freshman year.
There were times, though…
“It’s high school, so there’s going to be drama,” said Ms. Rinker. “Now we sit together and we share the moment.”
She pointed out it was unanimous to switch to one color for the robes.
“We are soaring, flying,” said Ms. Rinker. “There’s not a start in the heaven we can’t reach.”
“We are all in this together,” said Ms. Rinker. “Let’s go show the world what unity really is.”
Superintendent Robert Baldwin noted that his youngest son graduated that day, ending a bit of an era.
He praised the staff and faculty and said the students humbled him.
This class, he said is the last one to have attended all four elementary schools. The Oxford and Rogers are now closed.
He said they are now the people that the little kids will look up to.
Dr. Baldwin also noted that more and more Acushnet residents are choosing Fairhaven High School.
He noted all the different activities they have participated in and won awards for. To watch how they have grown, and what they have done, has been the “pleasure of our lives.”
He assured them that good things were in store for them.
“As long as you are good people, good things will happen to you,” said Dr. Baldwin.
“You’re amazingly good human beings. Never change that,” he said. “Because of you, we all have been made better.”
Ms. Kohler, noting it was her last class as principal, reflected on her time at FHS a bit.
She told them to take time to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place. She said she is proud of the progress they have made.
“It has truly been one of the greatest accomplishments and experiences of my life,” said Ms. Kohler.
After it was all over, students had a mix of emotions as they milled around outside taking photos with family members.
Isaiah Medina, who is going to UMassD for Criminal Justice, said graduating was “bittersweet.”
He’ll miss the sports and his friends, but is happy to be moving on.
Daniel Perry just said he was happy. His plans include volunteering at the animal shelter.
“I don’t know how I feel,” said Bethany Ramos, who is going to the University of Rhode Island to become a Pharmacist. “A lot of emotions.”
She said she will miss FHS but feels she has a “great future” ahead of her.
“Overwhelmed,” said Taylor Pickup, who is going to Mass. College of Liberal Arts for Biology and pre Med. “Bittersweet, excited about what’s to come, but said it’s over.”
Twin brothers Austin and Ross Brown will be splitting up for college.
Austin said he felt “amazing,” and is headed to Bristol Community College for Computer Aided Design.
“Relieved,” said Ross, who is headed to UMassD for chemistry. He said he is looking forward to the next step being a “great adventure.”
He said FHS pushed them, encouraged them, and made them strive for more. It was a “stepping stone to a bright future.”
“I’m read for the future,” said Austin. “Because of them, we’re ready for this.”
“Excited, accomplished,” said Danielle Burke, who is headed to Bridgewater State for elementary education.
“Proud of myself,” said her friend Amber Ferreira, who plans to go to BCC.
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