Walpole High bids the Class of 2012 farewell at Graduation


Senior Emily Rose gives the Salutatorian speech

Andrea Lee

Senior Emily Rose gives the Salutatorian speech

Administrators, teachers and members of the community have alluded to the Senior Class of 2012 as one of the most successful and one of the most memorable in recent years.  Academically, more Walpole High students will be attending top-notch universities next Fall than ever before.  Guidance Department Head Mrs. Jennifer Dolan referred to this Senior Class as a rarity by notably going “above and beyond in terms of academic sequences and extra-curricular realms.” Academics aside, even Principal Stephen Imbusch recognized the seniors as a great class, especially for their hard work ethic and focus. So, the 2012 graduation was a bittersweet gathering as Walpole High came together on June 3rd at Turco Field to wish the class of 2012 a last goodbye.

The band welcomed all graduates as spectators, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the soon-to-be graduates, packed the bleachers. Despite the windy and cloudy weather, the occasionally overcast weather never turned into rain and therefore never deterred the enthusiastic attendants of the special day.  Led by the black robed faculty and marshals, the excited Senior Class, dressed in blue and white robes, walked to their seats as Mr. Falker and the student band played the processional.

Mr. Imbusch started the 138th graduation exercises by welcoming everyone and thanking all of the guests. Music teacher Mr. Falker and a group of senior chorus students then sand The National Anthem. After all were seated again, Senior Class President Bryan Rockwood took the stand to present the class gift (a donation for activities) to the Junior Class.  Junior President Michelle Monahan accepted the gift, and in her thank you on behalf of the entire Junior Class, she said, “We can expect great things from you.”

Senior Salutorian Emily Rose stepped to the podium next to present an enthusiastic motivational speech for the class of 2012. She compared the process of graduating as slowly taking off on an airplane and how the Senior Class was currently on the runway awaiting clearing for takeoff.  After the metaphorical opening, Emily described the Walpole education system with an acronym for REBELS: Reading Empowers Brains; Education Liberates Societies. Rose brought history into her speech, talking about human rights and the belief of existentialism. At the end of her monologue, she wished the class well and said, “fasten your seat belts and have a nice flight!” After applause, Valedictorian John Griffin proceeded to give his speech to the class. Griffin focused on the idea of personal fulfillment and success.  He said, “We don’t know what lies ahead in our paths, but that uncertainty creates a great opportunity.” He brought to attention three questions that he believed everyone should ask themselves about their lives: “Are we competent at what we do?  Is what we are doing creating some sort of positive difference in the world? Do our endeavors make us happy?” Griffin added, “Life is simply too short to live unhappily.” As his speech went on, he encouraged bravery and success: “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something simply because it hasn’t been done before.” Despite being interrupted by strong winds, which would happen several times during the ceremony, he ended wishing the class happiness and fulfillment in what they do and concluded with this anonymous quote: “Remember today, for it is the beginning of always. Today marks the start of a brave new future filled with all your dreams can hold. Think truly to the future and make those dreams come true.”

Next, administrators distributed the plethora of scholastic achievement awards and scholarships. The Administrators immediately distributed Department Awards for excellence in certain areas of academics and electives and followed by a significant amount of scholarships. Students received scholarships based off of very different criteria, which were listed in the pamphlets so the guests could recognize the achievements of the winners. Twelve other seniors were additionally given an award for the criteria of “excellence in academics.”

After all of the awards were given, Vice Presidents Mr. William Hahn and Mr. Edward Connor stood at two separate podiums for the most anticipated moment of the program: the giving of the diplomas.  As Assistant Principals alternated calling out the names, Superintendent Lincoln Lynch, Principal Imbusch, and Mrs. Nancy Gallivan presented diplomas to each senior. All 241 seniors came forward amidst cheers and the occasional noisemakers to accept their diplomas with broad smiles. Even though the wind caused several to lose their caps, once the last senior received their diploma, the students proudly turned their tassels and soon after hurled their caps skyward, filling the air with blue and white and shouts of excitement. Officially graduates, the class filed out to the sound of the band to greet their friends and family and the next phase of their life.  To continue Emily Rose’s analogy, the Senior Class of 2012 had officially taken flight.