The Londonderry High School Class of 2021 celebrated its graduation ceremony last Friday night on the school campus, at Lancer Park, for the second time in as many years.
There were 333 seniors listed to receive diplomas that evening and in a year full of tribulation, most were eager to put their high school life behind them and head out on future paths.
A somber moment was taken during the event for a popular student of the 2021 class, Jake Naar, passed a few months prior to his graduation, and a honorary diploma was presented to Assistant Principal Katie Sullivan in his absence. The diploma was then placed at a seat dedicated to him among his classmates.
The graduation ceremony opened with the National Anthem performed by seniors Haley Hines, Maya Lincoln and Emily Thomas. Followed by welcoming remarks by Principal Jason Parent, who began by announcing those who would be entering the armed forces after graduating.
Adhvika Arunkumar was the first student to address the audience; she was the third honors student and reminisced about the class’s challenges over past year and her journey through high school. She reminded her classmates they need to find a way to flourish in the future and keep from languishing.
LHS teacher Michael Miller was the Faculty Speaker that evening, and gave a motivating speech of what the future holds for the Class of 2021.
Senior Nicole Raza took the stage and performed a beautiful rendition of “I’ll Always Remember You,” to the cheers of her classmates.
Director of School Counseling, Maureen O’Dea and Curriculum Coordinator Kim Lindley-Soucy then announced the Scholarship recipients. There was over $137, 000 was awarded to seniors.
Jason Parent then spoke again telling the graduates the he could honestly say that this was one of his favorite classes during his 13 year tenure.
“The reason for this is because you are such a kind and compassionate group of young men and women. You’re one of the nicest classes you’ll ever come across,” Parent said.
Salutatorian Caden Elghazal took the stage, and thanked his family members for all help they gave him over the course of the school year. He also mentioned the issues the class had to deal with during the COVID-19 quarantine, reading five books, then never reading another. He also mentioned the tragic losses of Jake Naar and Kate Sherwood and noted how the class was able to adapt and overcome obstacles throughout the year.
Elghazal ended with how these things made students stronger, “We aren’t just the Class of 2021, we’re the family of 2021.”
Also addressing the crowd was the Class President and Valadictorian Madison Walden, who was the first female student to ever hold both positions at Londonderry High School.
Walden spoke fondly of the “Recs,” saying that it was somewhere that brought the class together. She also remembered Jake Naar, “Jake was someone who took all the bad, so many of us had to pour out into our high school experiences and everyday lives and make it something we should have been able to see all along. He was just someone who had that effect on people.”
She finished by saying that this class is kindest and most thoughtful group of students the school’ teachers have ever taught, that means a whole lot more than the class could ever imagine. She reminded the class that they were a small part of a monumental whole, and to never forget that.
The Class Officers presented the school with the class gift, which will be funding a senior section of the school cafeteria. The area will be outfitted with high top tables depicting designs to honor Councilor Kate Sherwood and Jake Naar.
Andrew Johnson was the final student performer of the evening. Johnson played piano and sang a mash-up rendition of “I Lived”/ “A Million Dream”/”Forever Young.”
Following that, diplomas were handed out to the class by Parent and the former students celebrated their departure from the high school with jubilation.