Walpole High School Says Farewell to 137th Graduating Class


Issacar Jean-Simon celebrates graduation


Issacar Jean-Simon celebrates graduation

This past school year has been a year of change at Walpole High School. Advisory and PLC were introduced to the students, homeroom was taken away, and Mr. Stephen Imbusch embarked on his first full year as a principal. Throughout the changes remained a strong and enthusiastic senior class who, full of passion and spirit, helped the transition go as smoothly as possible. On June 5, however, Walpole High School said their last goodbyes to the Senior Class of 2011 as the graduating students gathered on Turco Field to receive their diplomas.  Amidst clear skies and a blazing sun—which left many students and their families sunburnt by the end of the ceremony—the graduating seniors sat and patiently listened as their peers and teachers spoke to them about their achievements in high school, and what lie ahead of them in college and the rest of their lives.

The Walpole High School Band signaled the start of the commencement exercises as they performed “Pomp and Circumstance,” while the Class of 2011 marched onto Turco Field for the last time as high school students. Shortly after everyone was seated, Senior Class President Sarah Buckley presented Junior Class President Bryan Rockwood with the senior class gift.  The gift—a number of speakers for school events (dances, pep rallies, senior dinner, etc) as well as money in the name of the Class of 2011 donated toward scholarship funds—Buckley said, “embodies the grace and enthusiasm” the senior class brought to Walpole High in the past year. Buckley advised the junior class to “use the gifts wisely” and to “stay classy,” because in a year, they will be the ones moving on.

Salutatorian Stephanie Ng and Valedictorian Joshua Cofsky were then introduced by Principal Stephen Imbusch to speak to their classmates. Traditionally, the Salutatorian and the Valedictorian each give separate commencement speeches for their peers to remember as they head off to college.  This year, however, Cofsky and Ng veered away from the conventional, and decided to create an audio montage of their peers—their thoughts, their advice, their regrets, their thank-yous—with the hope that they could, as Cofsky said, “embody the spirit and passion of the senior class as much as possible in as little time as possible.” The audio montage would contain “no flowery discourse,” Cofsky said, but would only contain the thoughts of the graduating class as they spoke about their high school career for the last time. The audio montage began with many students giving their opinion on the purpose of the valedictory speech, many of which made the audience erupt in laughter, especially when one senior stated that “the person who is last in the class should be giving the speech, because they had a totally different experience than the person who was first.”

The montage also went into how Walpole High shaped the students into the people they have become over their four years. Many students thanked their teachers for making them strive for better and opening up their eyes; others shared how their personality changed, and how they have developed into more outgoing, confident students. The montage also featured seniors giving advice to the junior class for their upcoming senior year, as well as advice for the graduates as they leave high school and head off into the real world. Students stated throughout the montage that they will miss “the diversity, the comfort, the safeness, the great teachers, the people, the environment, the fun times” when they leave high school. The montage ended with the seniors each personally thanking—or apologizing for the terror they put the teachers through—the friends, family, teachers, and peers that got them through the long days in the classroom, and the late nights spent studying.  As the audio montage ended, students, such as graduating senior Cameron Klavsen, thanked Walpole High as a whole “for letting [him] explore something [he] thought [he] would hate,”  and for putting in the energy to let the students have a great high school experience.

Once the audio montage was over, Mr. Imbusch distributed over 50 scholarships and awards to students for their excellence and achievements during their high school career. The scholarships were awarded not only for academic achievements, but for personal achievements as well. Shortly after the scholarships were awarded, Mr. Imbusch announced it was time for what every graduating senior had been anxiously waiting for—the time to distribute diplomas. Superintendent Lincoln Lynch and Nancy Gallivan, Chairperson of the School Committee handed out the diplomas to the seniors as proud friends and family proudly cheered. Once the 273 diplomas had been given, Mr. Imbusch approached the podium to give his final speech to the seniors. The seniors were congratulated on their spirit and passion throughout the school year, and Mr. Imbusch wished them well in their future endeavors. The newly graduated students erupted in cheers as they realized their long high school career had finally come to an end, and they would soon be facing bigger and better things in the future. With the last words of Mr. Imbusch fresh in their memories, the students tossed their caps in the air and walked off Turco Field—forever leaving their high school experience behind them.