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Wahconah Grads Told to Remember Good Times, Create Joy
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:18PM / Saturday, June 05, 2021
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Wahconah High graduates celebrate with silly string at ceremonies held on the school's football field on Saturday.

DALTON, Mass. — Members of the class of 2021 cannot be blamed for lamenting the athletic competitions, productions, parties and — yes — classes that they missed over the last 15 months.
 
But Wahconah Class President and salutatorian Shaun Thornton had a different message for his fellow graduates on Saturday afternoon.
 
"The circumstances of our senior year were far from ideal, this is true," Thornton said. "But is often too easy to narrowly focus on the things you don't have and, in doing so, overlook all that you do have.
 
"As we look back on our time here at Wahconah, my greatest wish is that we don't become discouraged by but we missed but instead appreciate what we had. We attended dances, pep rallies, field trips, sporting events, talent shows, Appolonian performances and senior assemblies. We read novels, wrote essays, solved problems, studied languages, played music, created art. We formed friendships.
 
"A single year does not define a high school experience unless you let it. So don't."
 
For the second straight year, Wahconah moved its graduation exercises out of the gym and onto the football field. The school's 60th graduation saw 130 seniors receive diplomas in front of friends and family, beneath a clear blue sky and in the shadow of the new high school that will greet Wahconah's class of 2025 in September.
 
As the class of 2021 said goodbye to their teachers and friends, it was not lost on them that they also were saying goodbye to the building they called home for the last four years.
 
"We have spent the last four years as a group, building bonds and creating a community that will forever have a place in our memory," valedictorian Aiden Trager said. "Wahconah will always be the place where we grew up, the school where we learned be adults. And although we may not recognize the new school as our home, we can appreciate that we made an impact on Wahconah's history.
 
"We can take pride that we were an example of leadership this year, that we kept traditions alive through the most unruly of times and that the students who remain will follow in the footsteps that we have left."
 
The ceremony included a performance of the song "Have It All" pre-recorded by the Wahconah choir, and acknowledgements by Principal Aaron Robb of the numerous volunteers who put together and coordinated the outdoor event.
 
Robb, a father of adolescents himself, also acknowledged the people in the back who had the backs of the graduates.
 
"Graduation is not really for our graduates, it's for their families, too," Robb said. "It certainly provides closure for you, but for your families, it's the fulfilment of a dream. As a parent, I'd remind the graduates that when they were born — within days, hours, even minutes of their birth — their parents envisioned their children celebrating two important milestones in their life: graduation and marriage.
 
"At some point in time, the parents of the class of 2021 literally dreamed about what is happening now before their very eyes. And here we are making that happen."
 
As that dream unfolded, Robb noted that many parents are also fearful about sending their children off into a nightmarish world of division and acrimony.
 
To help them navigate that fractured world, Robb offered three pieces of advice: find peace within themselves, find and accept love in their lives and push themselves to create joy.
 
"Note that I said the word 'create,' " Robb said. "Joy is something you can actually make for yourself. It's created by searching for and embracing the silver linings in life.
 
"This pandemic has taught us many things. But one thing I noticed was how some people, in the midst of despair in the last year and a half, amplified the positives and still found joy in aspects of their lives while others chose to amplify the negatives and embrace misery."
 
Trager reminded his classmates of the joy that they have created together.
 
"We spent an entire year of our young lives daydreaming about the greatness that is to come, but, for just a moment, let's appreciate where we are now and how far we've come," Trager said. "We are leaving school for the final time together, finally without masks on and with a unique perspective about life.
 
"If there's anything to thank quarantine for, it's that, for many, it was the first time we looked at ourselves and the world around and realized what was truly important to us. Whether it be family, friends, or whatever else you missed the most, take this moment to realize that we have a second chance to better ourselves. Let's allow ourselves to learn from this experience and not take anything for granted. Because, as we've experienced, life can change suddenly and without warning."
 
The list of awards and scholarships can be found here. Wahconah Regional High School's class of 2021:
 
Chloe Bell Accardi *
Kelly Kristina Anderson *
Sadie Marie Anderson *
Zachary John Archambault
Nicholas Louis Astore *
Cody Christopher Atwood 
Alexis Rose Ayotte 
Jaedyn Elizabeth Barnaby
Karly Angelina Bazonski 
Lauren Broderick Bean
Shane Matthew Bernardo 
Aiden Gregory Betit *
Ashton Mikael Bird 
Hannah Catherine Bowlby 
Gabriel Michael Bray 
Emma Kathleen Brosnan 
Connor William Burt 
Evan Michael Bynack 
Grace Olivia Caccaviello *
Gabrielle Marie Cancilla 
Kya Lynn Candilore 
Carina Lynn Caporale 
Emma Lucinda Carkhuff *
Anna Michelle Casella 
Eleana Fay Casey *
Abigail Caroline Clayton *
Cameron Alexander Combs 
Scarlet Jane Connell 
Sawyer Quinn Cornwell-L'Hote 
Jillian Rae Cote *
Nathaniel Mattey Coyne 
Haley Anne Crosier 
Bryce Montgomery Denault 
Eric Lee Dewey 
Madison Rose DiPietro 
Meghan Xiao Ju Doane *
Jake William Emerson 
Joshua David Fletcher 
Bethany Rose Fontaine 
Cameron Gage Forward
Noelle Catherine Furlong *
Cameron Patrick Paul Fusini 
Quinn Morgan Gallagher 
Maria Louise Gamberoni *
Olivia Helen Gazzillo 
Christopher Shane Golembeski 
Kayla Maria Goyette 
Sage Lynn Guiel *
Shayne Michael Haley *
Austin Thomas Hart 
Ethan Riley Hayes 
Madison Leigh Hurlburt *
Jessica Ranae Jones 
Ty Marshall Jordan 
Donovan Cronnell Keegan *
Griffin Daniel Keifer 
Colby Hunter Kirchner 
Benjamin Lee Klose *
Joscelynn Elizabeth Korzeniowski 
Kassidy Jayde Krejmas *
Ernest Remi Lampron *
John Joseph Lavoie 
Kaleb Lawrence LePage 
Caitlyn Ann Lusignan 
Hanna Jean Lusignan 
Colin Richardson Mackie
Patience Faith MacPherson *
Shea Louis MacPherson 
Brian Anthony Mange-Rock 
Morgan Lynn Marauszwski*
Sophia Terese Ruth Marquis
Anthony Carmen Marra
Isaac Christopher Marszalek 
Trey Matthew Massaro 
Mckenna Ray Mathers 
Maggie Elizabeth Mazzeo*
Nicole Patricia Mazzeo 
Caleb Ray McCasland 
Sadie Mattis McConnell 
Laci Alexandra Melle 
Joshua Michael Munn 
Braelyn Elizabeth Nelson 
Ethan William Nesbit 
Macy Marie Nesbit 
Logan Hunter Newsome 
Richard James Nolli 
Aisha Elizabeth O'Boyle*
Kaylee Michele O'Bryan*
Ashley Rose O'Connell 
Kaitlyn Grace Olds 
Luc Alan Ouellet 
Austin Reed Ovletrea 
Anil Utku Ozdemir 
Vienne Clare Peltier*
Emily Rose Perault 
Noah Andrew Perault*
Emily Noel Pires 
Arianna Kassandra Poirier 
Brock Anthony Prett 
Callum John Prett 
Matthew Robert Quinto 
Lay Victor Manuel Ramos 
Connor David Rarick 
Jonathan Michael Render
Amiah Beth Renderer 
Natalie Rae Robert 
Caitlin Rose Ronayne*
Cameron Mason Rudd 
Anthony James Safford Anthony James
Monica Christine De Miranda Santos
Faith Victoria Savery*
Hunter James Schweizer 
Jacob Francis Selva 
Sydney Ann Smith 
Paxton Rose Strout 
Kaeli Lynn Talora 
Timothy Michael-Antonio Therrien*
Shaun David Thornton*
Aiden Pierce Trager*
Julia Dianne Trager*
Alexis Raegan VanBramer 
Giovanna Cavalcanti Vianna*
Kaelynn Brigitte Walsh 
Casey Anthony Wassilie 
Xavier Lucia Wellington*
Danielle Rita Whitaker 
Michelle Jiatao White 
Michelle Jean Williams*
Daniel Clayton Wilson*
Nicole Elaine Wing
 
*National Honor Society
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