Top Scholar Emily Fraser speaks to her classmates. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

Senior Jack Mallory poses for the crowd. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

REGION — Donning their caps, gowns and masks, the 37 graduates of the Telstar High School class of 2020 made the most of their unorthodox ceremony.

With pomp and circumstance playing, seniors marched from the upper parking lot of South Ridge down in front of the stage before taking a seat in chairs spread six feet apart.

Friends and family were parked in cars, buses and even limos, as they watched students get their diplomas in-hand.

Telstar Principal Mark Kenney kicked off the speaking by telling the class not to dwell on the “negatives and loss” COVID-19 has brought.

“Look at what we were able to celebrate together. Never before has a graduating high school class celebrated in the manner that you have this week.”

The class was forced to learn remotely in mid-March.

“You’re small close-knit class has been able to come together even more,” Kenney added.

Kenney thanked Sunday River for hosting the event and the communities, who together “poured out” more than $140,000 in scholarship money.

Top scholars Evan LeConey and Emily Fraser both addressed their classmates.

“It’s important to remember that your future is never static and can always be changed on the basis of your decisions and mindset,” LeConey said. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

He encouraged his classmates to “speak up” when they get the chance.

“Even if you only have once voice, your statements have the potential to inspire others and enact change.”

Fraser had words of encouragement for her class also, and referenced Harry Potter, her favorite book series, in her speech.

“The students at Hogwarts are proud to go to that great school. Like them, I am proud to go to Telstar. This school will always have a piece of my heart,” she said.

“Graduation marks the end of a chapter of our lives. We all have our own book of life that has not yet been written. Luckily, as Telstar graduates, we’ve all been given the paper and ink we need to write our own stories. With the love of our family and friends, our stories will become bestsellers,” Fraser added.

Following the speeches of the classes top scholars, students showed off an array of dance moves to their class song “I’ll be there for you,” by The Rembrandts.

Co-Class presidents Calla Orino and Fraser, gave brief speeches to their class following the diploma presentation.

“Today we are the best versions of ourselves and we can be whoever we want to be. We are strong, independent, resilient and a force to be reckoned with. ” Orino said. “Going forward will not be easy, their will be challenges, but I know we can face them and conquer them. We’re the toughest class to come out of Telstar. We made it through the end our year in a pandemic.”

Superintendent Dave Murphy, Dean of Students John Eliot and School Board Chair Bonnie Largess also spoke to the seniors briefly.

“Life is an adventure, so live every day to its fullest. Never put off for tomorrow what you would like to do today. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring,” Eliot said.

Commencement concluded with family and friends driving around the parking lot, congratulating the seniors and taking diplomas from their respective graduate.

The event lasted a little more than hour. Afterwards, seniors stayed at the resort for project graduation activities.

 


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