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True to Themselves, 182 Graduate from Nipmuc

It was a mix of emotions as the 182 students who made up the Nipmuc Regional High School Class of 2013 began the school's 53rd Commencement Exercises on May 31. Harry Platcow photo

Nipmuc High School celebrated its 53rd Annual Commencement on May 31 with the graduation of 182 students from the Class of 2013.

After a processional of the seniors into the gymnasium, Principal John Clements addressed the students as well as their families and friends who came to celebrate the milestone. "Commencement is an event that is truly like no other. It offers a nostalgic conclusion and the bright possibilities of a new beginning, all wrapped up into one," he said.

To the graduate's parents, Clements voiced how quickly time could go by. "Tonight, you can place a marker in time.....Tonight provides the reflection and the transition in one special moment, be careful not to blink," he said. Clements also addressed the graduates, urging them to go forward with the virtues that have been displayed by various classmates through their years at Nipmuc, including optimism, leadership, courage, inspiration, and motivation.

Clements also recognized the Class of 2013's Valedictorian Kevin Gurney and the Salutatorian William Kelley.

Senior Class President Stephen Lukas took the podium and spoke about his how his class will be graduating in a time of uncertainty, and challenged his classmates to "not merely live with uncertainty and insecurity, but to face the future with courage and conviction. We have the ability to be the next greatest generation, but only if we choose to be," said Lukas.

During the ceremony, the High School Chorus sang "May it Be" from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the High School Band played "Blue Ridge Saga," and Nipmuc Seniors Chelsea Daniels and Meaghan Roche sang "For Good" from the musical Wicked.

Speakers for the class of 2013 spoke on their journey through the years, and the meaning of their class motto "This above all: to thine own self be true" from William Shakespeare. Nicole Pierce spoke about "being true" and making your own decisions despite pressures you may face. "We cannot be afraid to be true to ourselves....let your experiences change you," she said. Brandon Hall spoke about the bond of collective memories that he will share with his classmates, reflecting on memories from his four years at Nipmuc. "These are memories that I hope will stay with me forever and will cement my place here at Nipmuc," he said. Madeleine LaPlante-Dube spoke about the difficulty in saying goodbye to her classmates, but left them with some parting advice. "I hope you leave room to explore. I hope you go into the world with an open mind," she said.

Before the presentation of the diplomas, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak told the students that they will be starting with a clean slate, or blank canvas. "I challenge each and every one of you to create a fresh perspective in your lives and never take for granted the many things, both great and small, in your life."

The diplomas were presented to the students by School Committee Chairperson Philip De Zutter before the graduates recessed out of the gymnasium and through the auditorium. Students and families were invited to a reception in Nipmuc's courtyard after the ceremony.


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