After a flawless performance of the National Anthem by graduating senior Katie Aramento, Londonderry High School Principal Jason Parent welcomed 398 graduates, and their family and friends, to the 34th graduating class ceremonies, held Friday evening, June 14, at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
“The theme of your class was to make 13 lucky,” Parent said. “Luck is defined as success or failure brought by chance rather than by one’s own actions. I would say that doesn’t fit you seniors. You created your own luck through hard work, acts of caring, and wanting to make a difference, and by being good people. For those in the audience, this is one of the nicest classes we’ve ever had come through Londonderry High School.”
Parent added that the Class of 2013 was spirited yet respectful, a testament to how they treat others and who they are. “There are no labels with the Class of 2013,” Parent said. “They see each other as individuals, they are very close to each other, and they value the time they had here. Every day of Senior Week they really savored the moment and appreciated each other’s company.”
Parent said that the seniors reminded the administration that they were in good hands for the future. “They are tremendously accomplished already and they’ve only just begun,” he said. “One of them created a beautiful military memorial for those alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” he told the crowd gathered for the ceremony. “Three of them scored in the top 50,000 out of the 1.5 million students who took the SAT test. Several of them were accepted into the New Hampshire All State music festival.”
Parent noted that the high school marching band took part in the Presidential Inauguration parade and that 10 percent of the seniors graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Fourteen seniors are joining military service.
“This senior class has made lasting memories with all of us, but the greatest accomplishment is remaining who you are,” Parent said.
Salutatorian Adrian Baker said this was the first time in LHS history that the class president was also the valedictorian, and that meant it was the first time the salutatorian gave the valedictory address.
Baker thanked the administration and staff whot helped the seniors to reach the moment they were now experiencing.
He related a story in which his grandfather some 60 years ago was driving down a dirt road in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He said his grandfather came to a flooded place in the road and was unsure whether he should go through when a wheat farmer approached.
“‘Go on,’ he said, ‘just keep going and you won’t get stuck,’ the wheat farmer said. A persistent approach worked for them and so far, it seems, it’s worked for us too,” Baker said. Class President and Valedictorian Ethan Doherty spoke of uncertainties and opportunities, noting that hard work pays off in the end and that life is ultimately what you make of it.
“What overshadows all uncertainty and joys is today. Today is special,” Doherty said. The senior class officers presented a class gift of a student gathering area adjacent to the athletic fields. “This picnic area will help the students and the community to create their own long lasting memories,” Class Vice President Anthony Ferrara said.
Superintendent Nathan Greenberg then introduced the Class of 2013 to family and friends. Graduates Amelia Fabiano and Taylor Glynn, accompanied on piano by Zachary Joy, gave their rendition of “Wherever I Go,” as some in the audience blinked back tears.
After the graduates had crossed the stage and returned to their seats with diploma in hand, they stood en masse and moved their tassels from right to left. With that simple action they became not Londonderry High School students, but LHS alumni.
Graduate Brittany Rivard, who will be attending Plymouth State College in the fall, said high school went by “really fast,” with her favorite memory of senior year tailgating before sports events.
Fellow graduate Maria Panicopoulos, who will be attending the University of New Hampshire in the fall, said, “I’ve been with some of my friends that I’m graduating with since the sixth grade. If I were to give advice, I would say, get to know those in your class that you don’t already know.”