High-achieving graduates encouraged to enjoy success

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Students march into the HHS athletic center for the start of the graduation program.

The members of the Hopkinton High School Class of 2019 officially ended their tenure at HHS with commencement exercises on May 31, and they were sent off in style, with a group of seniors performing “We Are the Champions” between speeches from students and administrators.

“Each of the 287 bright, articulate, driven, kind, caring and funny graduates sitting to my left and right have brought something unique to the collective personality of 2019,” principal Evan Bishop said. “As we heard earlier, this class has many remarkably talented musicians and performers, they have some of the best leaders we’ve had in fields like theater, art and engineering, and 31 of these students will continue to compete at the collegiate level in a variety of sports. The list of accomplishments and talents goes on and on.”

The HHS athletic center was filled for the 2019 commencement exercises.

Bishop also joked that he’ll remember these graduates for another distinction.

“This class shattered records for being tardy to school,” he said. “I mean, you enjoy the snooze button like no other class we’ve had.”

Bishop advised the students to take some time for themselves, saying they should not fear the downtime as the over-scheduling of their high school years ends.

“I think that most adults in this athletic center, myself included, could not even imagine doing what they’ve done at their age,” he said. “Seniors, I’ve observed you over the years move from one activity or task immediately to another, working tirelessly and never taking a break. You’ve been on the equivalent of a high school hamster wheel. These days, sadly, it seems that being busy is looked at as a badge of honor or some trendy status symbol. There’s little time for rest, reflection and downtime anymore.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Cavanaugh offered two basic but important pieces of advice: The first: Be nice. “Nice goes a very, very long way in this world,” she said. The second: Do your best. “Spending lots of time worrying about who’s ahead and who’s behind isn’t healthy,” she said. “Trying to be someone or something you’re not? Never good.”

Valedictorian Jane Stillwell and salutatorian Priva Hegde combined forces on their speech to their classmates.

Student speakers included class president Alex Wojcik, valedictorian Jane Stillwell, salutatorian Priya Hegde and Kinsley Rolph, who was selected by her classmates to give an address and said the key to success is persistence.

“If you ever go through anything in life, having a strong persistence to finish and end the way you wanted, you will get your way,” she said. “Persistence is what will get you through the hard times, including a graduation speech like mine.”

The yearbook was dedicated to Phil Powers, who is completing his 16th year as the school resource officer.

“OP’s presence makes HHS a happier and safer place,” class secretary Sam Cote said. “We all greatly appreciate him and his commitment to our schools and us as individuals.”

Class treasurer Ryan Hawkins announced the class gift: the ’19 Lounge, which he explained will be “a room for students to relax during free periods in their school schedules. The room will come equipped with amenities such as comfortable workstations, sofas and a ping-pong table. We hope that the ’19 Lounge will give students a place to enjoy and unwind during their already busy school days.”

Class vice president Matt Dempsey presented gifts to class advisers Adelaide Greco and Chip Collins.

History/social sciences teacher Michael Sullivan announced Steven Simoes as the winner of the Marian T. Harris Award, which is presented to the senior who “best exemplifies Mrs. Harris’ conscientious engagement in learning, genuine commitment to service and deep respect for others.”

Said Sullivan: “We are blessed to be surrounded by so many remarkable young men and women like those who are in front of you right now. It’s quite something when one stands out even amidst such a crowd. … It would be impossible for me to overstate my respect for the recipients’ skill, integrity and kindness — kindness most of all. This is a highly honorable person who gives me hope for the future.”

Photos/Tricia LaCascia Photography

Hopkinton High School seniors toss their graduation caps in the air at the conclusion of the May 31 commencement exercises.