Class of 2018 Graduates Londonderry High School

Friends and family members scrambled through the stands of the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Arena, trying to find the best seats possible. Moments later, a slow clap began echoing throughout the arena, coming from backstage. Then, it was time.

The Londonderry High School (LHS) class of 2018 proceeded from behind the stage wearing caps, gowns, and ear to ear smiles. Friday, June 15 marked the day they had waited 12 years for: the 39th annual LHS commencement ceremony.

The evening began with the national anthem, sung by LHS seniors Josie Collins, Ellen Kester, and Nadia King. After marshalls Donna Chisolm and Scott Greene seated the class, LHS principal Jason Parent welcomed and congratulated the families, friends, and teachers of the graduating class.

Parent described the seniors as leaders and role models, who have been respectful, passionate, inspirational, and charismatic. Joining the class in their journey beyond LHS are eight teachers who are retiring. Of the eight, band director Andy Soucy is the only one who has spent over four decades at LHS, and received a standing ovation from the entire arena, marking his final performance.

This school year marked the 40th anniversary of LHS opening its doors, so the remainder of Parent’s address touched upon the different generations, focusing primarily on the class of 2018’s generation z. He noted qualities such as being technologically savvy, able to communicate and access information through a number of platforms including social media.

Parent also broke down the class of nearly 380 students with key statistics. There were 160 seniors named as N.H. Scholars, 26 named as N.H. Scholar Athletes, and 43 graduating with a cumulative weighted GPA of 4.0 or higher. He stated that 80 percent of the class are going onto higher education, as well as recognized the nine students who will join the armed services to defend the nation.

The LHS top ten students were also recognized for their honors: Carolyn Hill – tenth honors, Meghan McCudden – ninth honors, Andrew Liu – eighth honors, Joseph Hernandez – seventh honors, Carina Pento – sixth honors, Jacqueline Baumann – fifth honors, Richard Chen – fourth honors, Jeffrey Cieslikowski – third honors, Caroline Hayes – salutatorian, and Heather Ricker – valedictorian.

Ricker took to the podium with a smile, as she delivered a candid speech focused around the importance of passion.

“I’m the valedictorian, yes, but that’s a minute detail. Before that, I am a friend, a peer, a member of Lancer Nation. Those are the things I am most proud to call myself,” she said. “Today I will be speaking casually and authentically about all of you, because you all are my passion, and if I’ve learned anything in my 18 years of life, it’s that obligation is never enough of a reason to do something. There must be passion at the root of it all.”

Ricker proceeded to ask her classmates to close their eyes and think about a time during the last four years that caused their hearts to skip a beat. She instructed the class to take that moment of passion, and use it as the foundation for their futures.

“You may not know where you’d like to be 20 years from now, but with your passion, at least you have a place to start,” she said. “Spend the rest of your lives chasing and pursuing what you are passionate about.”

As class president, Cieslikowski followed with a speech addressing a handful of lessons that the class learned together. Though, rather than focus on academic lessons, he spoke of signature aspects of everyday life at LHS, earning quite a few laughs with his classmates.

Cieslikowski thanked all the family members and retirees for teaching the class numerous lessons throughout their four years of high school, and for all the guidance along the way. He then looked to the future, encouraging the class to branch out and make the most of new learning opportunities.

“In high school, we tend to arrange ourselves into these cliques,” he said. “As we move to the next phase of our lives, I challenge you to look past these social barriers. You never know what you can learn from anyone.”

Following the conclusion of his speech, Cieslikowski was joined on stage by his fellow class officers, including activities coordinators Hernandez and Luke Cava, prom chairs Baumann and Jillian Doris, historian Aidan Crowley, secretary Shannon Fraser, treasurer Luke Wyman, and vice president Pento. Together, they presented the class gift, which is a digital sign to replace the current display in front of LHS. The new sign will showcase student achievements and community events, allowing for instantaneous updates in the event of an emergency. It will be installed in the coming months.

After a performance by seniors Hernandez and Brendan Schabhetl, the seniors crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. As members of the class exited the arena to embark on their futures, the words of Parent’s speech came full circle:

“I want to thank the Londonderry class of 2018. You are young men and women, who will continue to define your generation the way you always have: as people of substance, with a tremendous capacity to do so much good in the world. We wish you all the best of luck and remember, once a Lancer, always a Lancer.”

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter