Londonderry High Sends Class of 2016 into the World

The Londonderry High School community filled the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday, June 10 to celebrate its seniors as they graduated from the school and 12 years of public education.

An excited crowd watched the young people receive their diplomas and listened to their peers speak about what their education has meant to them, what they’ve accomplished and how they will tackle where they’re going next.

Principal Jason Parent welcomed the group to the event after a well-received rendition of the National Anthem by Alyson Aramento.

Parent said that this was his 13th year as an administrator and the class that sat before him in their white and blue caps and gowns meant much to him, and to many of those at Londonderry High.

Parent built his speech around quotes from the recently departed Muhammad Ali, noting a poster he kept in his office of the heavyweight champ.

Every step of the way the Class of 2016 stepped up to the challenges the school presented to them on every level, said Parent, citing examples from academics, athletics, civic involvement and charitable outreach.

“Four years ago we challenged the senior class to get involved in every aspect of the school. To be leaders; to work to your full potential; to show compassion; to strive for excellence; to be models for classmates and underclassmen, and every step of the way you did these things marvelously and left a legacy for others to follow,” said Parent.

Parent pointed to academic excellence, and how the graduates contributed to Londonderry High School’s standing, in a variety of measures, as one of the best high schools in the state. The principal applauded the class for establishing a new record for grade point averages, with 14 percent of the class having a GPA of 4.0 or higher; having the most college bound students in the school’s history and helping keep the school’s dropout rate one of the lowest in the state at .37 percent.

Londonderry seniors established records for their generosity as well. They helped establish a school and National Record in the school’s annual Day of Giving, as students cut eight inches or more of their hair for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign, which collects the donated hair to make wigs for cancer patients. They collected new hats for cancer patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, made the holidays better for underprivileged kids and much more, according to the principal.

And the class excelled in creative pursuits as well, said Parent, from theater to band to Destination Imagination.

But the principal summed up all of these accomplishments this way: “It’s been such a pleasure to be around every one of you in these last four years,” said Parent.

The principal concluded by saying, “The Class of 2016 has done so much for Londonderry High School. You care about each other. You care about your country. Thank you for being the kind-hearted, genuine, positive people that you are. We love you. We care about you. We wish nothing but the best for your future. And keep living every day like it might be your last.”

An empty chair was reserved among the graduates for the late Craig Fairweather, who had been a beloved member of the class of 2016.

Student representatives also applauded their peers for their hard work through the years, and urged them to look forward with confidence and continued open-mindedness and determination.

Valedictorian Katherine Gore spoke about how many graduates are bombarded with questions about what they plan to do with the rest of their lives, from college to career, and while many know what their plans are, it was OK if they were still looking forward to figuring it out. More important, said Gore, referencing a scene from the Disney movie “Lion King,” is the question about who each of them are and who each of them were going to be.

Gore took time to say that who she wanted to be was often represented by the teachers she was educated by at Londonderry High, naming many and their qualities.

The valedictorian urged her peers to try new things and get out of their comfort zone. “Don’t put yourself in a box in the coming years,” said Gore. “Take chances with the new things that come along and you might just be surprised at where your life leads and the things that move you.

“Every one of you is more talented than you could ever imagine,” said Gore to her classmates. “If you don’t believe me, it’s only because you’re too hard on yourself to recognize it.”

Class President Maxwell Hastings spoke about the good character of those he’d met along the way at Londonderry High. Remembering when he first moved to Londonderry, then assuring his mother he was going to dislike the new things coming his way, he found a school that was welcoming and warm and helpful.

And he saw that character throughout his years in school, explained Hastings, pointing to various outreach efforts, small and large, that he had witnessed in the halls of Londonderry High.

“No one in this school just looks out for themselves. Everyone looks out for one another. I feel incredibly blessed with having the opportunity to share a class with you,” said Hastings. “I wish you all the best of luck. Thank you, guys. Congratulations, Class of 2016.”

After the Class Gift was presented by officers, Brady Wall performed the class song, “Found A Way,” the theme song from a Nickelodeon show, and then to waves of applause, cheers and air horns the Londonderry High School Class of 2016 was called by name, received their diplomas and concluded their careers in Londonderry schools.


Caption: School Board member Dan Lekas congratulates his son Nicolas after handing him his diploma.


Caption: Abigail Espailat and Yini Liang celebrate after receiving their diplomas.


Caption: Class of 2016 valedictorian Katherine Gore addresses the crowd at her graduation Friday night. Photos by Chris Paul

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