The 35th graduating class from Londonderry High School marched across the stage at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Friday, June 13.
LHS Guidance Director Mike Dolphin said 389 graduates participated in the commencement ceremony.
LHS Principal Jason Parent said the Class of 2014 includes the first group of students who attended Kindergarten at Moose Hill School and went through all 12 years to graduation.
“You are an outstanding group of seniors that have contributed to a memorable school year – actually you contributed to 13 memorable school years, as you are Moose Hill Kindergarten’s first class of students to graduate,” he said.
Parent cited the book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum and said its message relates to the senior class. He called the Class of 2014 a sharing class, sharing with underclassmen what it meant to be a Lancer by wearing We Are Lancer Nation T-shirts to pep rallies, and sharing hair with cancer patients in the form of wigs made from hair donations at the annual Pantene Beautiful Lengths pep rally.
Parent said 15 graduating seniors are entering the military, 53 or 14 percent had a 4.0 or higher grade point average and the class had a dropout rate of 0.36 percent. “Ninety percent of the graduating seniors are going off to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. That is the most ever,” Parent said.
Valedictorian of the class is Cassidy Litch; salutatorian is Andrew Bompastore.
In her speech, Litch related a story of a girl walking down a beach who took her eyes off her feet for just a moment and stubbed her toe on a rock. She said a bright, multicolored door was revealed to her and she nudged the door open and went in, where she encountered obstacles and a monster. She escaped and overcame the obstacles. When she closed her eyes, she felt a gentle touch and someone said, “tag, you’re it.”
“I have found this to be a metaphor for my real life experiences,” Litch said.
She said that when she was young she would chase the water as it receded to the sea and would run back as a new wave approached. “Curiosity and exploration lead me to an enjoyable new experience,” Litch said.
On a family outing to Texas, she and her family went tubing and she was caught upside down in the water with her tube; she learned to hold on and to hold her breath under water.
Years later she was on another outing where she and her father went on a swing that lifted them hundreds of feet in the air before going into free fall.
“Side by side we were pulled up and up and up. Totally unexpected, we pulled the cord and we began to free fall. As the air rushed by, all I heard was a high pitched little girl scream. To my shock it wasn’t my own, but my dad’s,” Litch said.
The moral of her story, she said, is to look back at obstacles with “the same child-like ferocity you used when you were little.
“Experience life to the fullest, and finally persevere through all your difficult times because you never know where that final door my lead you,” Litch said.
“We are leaving Lancer Nation; surely every student on this floor knows what that means,” Class President Michael Bolduc said. “Lancer Nation is a frame of mind, hundreds of students, boys and girls donating their hair to make wigs for people in need. It’s a sense of duty, letting your peers motivate you into doing more than you ever thought possible and never accepting anything less than excellence. It’s a work ethic, Mr. (Art) Psaledas and Mr. (Mike) Dolphin leaving after giving 100 percent of their souls to us and allowing us to have the best four years of our lives.”
He said that even though Assistant Principal Psaledas and Dolphin would not be in the halls next year, as they are retiring June 30, “their presence will be felt forever.
“In a way, the same thing can be said about the class of 2014,” Bolduc added. “We are Lancer Nation and we will win!