The Hopkinton High School Class of 2021 — which at 328 students is the largest in school history — overcame one final challenge before graduating Friday night, as an afternoon rain delayed commencement exercises by an hour.
Principal Evan Bishop welcomed graduating students, faculty, families and others in attendance.
“We all know the last 15 months have been beyond difficult. We have dealt with loss, cancellations, adjustments, weather and many, many unexpected moments,” Bishop said. “However, with the help and support of so many, we are here tonight and we are incredibly thankful to be able to bring these seniors together one last time. And while it’s important and necessary to acknowledge the hard times we’ve all been through, tonight is about celebrating these graduates as they have earned and deserved an appropriate and joyous send-off.”
Class president David Stedt, in his speech, took students back to kindergarten at Center School, where four banners hang in the gymnasium promoting core values.
“Caring, acceptance, responsibility and honesty were deemed most important as we started our Hopkinton education,” Stedt said. “Now as we complete this journey, I look back and appreciate just how thoughtfully they were chosen.”
Stedt, who impressed classmates by singing the “hallway song” they were taught as kindergartners, explained how those values continue to be vital as they become adults.
“Thank you, Hopkinton, for our journey together, and for putting these four values before us,” Stedt said. “When we let caring, acceptance, responsibility and honesty guide our lives, we will be successful.”
Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh noted that when she graduated high school, the yearbook was her school’s version of social media. She referenced a quote from the Grateful Dead that was a popular comment for a 1980s yearbook signing and said it’s especially appropriate now: “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Cavanaugh also credited students with “learning how to learn,” even when classes were hybrid or remote.
Valedictorian Andrea Liu said she binge-watched graduation speeches on YouTube to help put together her speech, but she ultimately relied on her fourth-grade yearbook from Hopkins School for inspirational words of advice, including, “If we cannot find the road to success, we will make one.”
Liu also offered “a special thanks to our parents for dealing with our phone addictions, social media obsessions and the many, many mistakes we made over the years.”
Class vice president Tommy Bernardin announced that the yearbook was dedicated to “all the front-line workers, teachers and school administration, as well as any other people in the community who put their safety on the line in order to help others” during the pandemic.
Class treasurer Matt Cooper announced that the class gift is a tree that will stand to the right of the HHS main entrance, as well as flags for lamp posts around the school. “This tree will grow alongside the school, symbolic of the growth of each and every student that enters Hopkinton High School,” he said.
Class secretary Danny Andrews recognized class advisers Jennifer Griffey and Brian Prescott.
Seniors Elizabeth Kane (vocals), Olivia Jones (keyboard) and Aidan Medeiros (drums) and junior Sean Thapa (bass guitar) performed a rousing rendition of Adele’s “When We Were Young.”
English teacher Sarah Ellam presented the Marian T. Harris Award — which goes to the senior who “best exemplifies Ms. Harris’ conscientious engagement in learning, genuine commitment to service, and deep respect for others” — to Mia Carboni.
Prior to handing out diplomas, Bishop credited the popular 2020 television show “Ted Lasso” for its inspiring, positive outlook and said he sees the same trait in the graduating class. “You were resilience personified,” he said.
The class roared with approval when the final graduate was announced, and Anne Zhu took full advantage of the moment, pausing to take a selfie with the principal.
Following is the list of graduates.
Martino Della Grazia
Devansh Kumar Jain
Nipun Sai Kisari
Syed Mustafa Quadri
Catherine von Hausen
Nathan von Hausen
Mohammad Ali Zaidi