Valedictorian Max Quinn credited his classmates for helping him form his identity. Salutatorian Katie Candiloro reminded them they had learned their basic lessons years ago.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There was a final huzzah for the Drury High School class of 2012 as the 118 seniors said a final goodbye their alma mater — hand in hand.
The class of 2012 is easily one of the most accomplished — it had the highest percentage of students taking Advanced Placement courses and some 85 percent are planning to continue their education.
They excelled in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.
"I have never witnessed a graduating class with such a broad range of distinct and exceptional talent," said Principal Amy Meehan to the graduating seniors surrounded by friends and family in the Drury gym on Thursday night. "You have given back to your peers, your school and this city through your community service learning efforts, never asking for anything in return. I have watched you grow as individuals and as a class to form a distinct identity and learn the nuances of life's bittersweet lessons."
Class President and valedictorian Max Quinn expounded on that sense of identity, how the classmates had bonded over the past three years despite their diversity. He likened them to single swipes of a paintbrush that while beautiful "lacked depth and maybe rough around the edges."
"When that simple stroke joins many others, in our case  separate swipes of brushes, the picture produced is breathtaking," he said, with the intricacies of each line highlighting the brilliance of the others. Their identity had been influenced by each other and the many loved ones in the seats and stands around them.
Raised by a single mother, Quinn said he learned all about his father this past February and first thought he'd find his identity in full. Then he realized his the man who fathered him had only provided genetic outward attributes as significant as his clothes.
"Something else has had an even greater impact on the person I am today ... That something else is all of you," he said. "My identity has been drawn by the interactions we've had throughout the years, the lessons we have learned and the ups and downs and the friendships we will cherish into the future. ...
"Forever am I grateful to you for helping to shape the person I am. It is my sincerest hope you can say the same regarding me as well as for your other fellow classmates."
Quinn was rewarded with a standing ovation — among many rounds of applause he received during the night. His speech was lightened by the obvious trouble he was having keeping his cap on his head, sending his classmates into laughter and prompting the follicle-challenged Mayor Richard Alcombright to joke that he was sympathetic at first until realizing Quinn's full head of hair was getting in the way.
Three members of the junior class graduated on Thursday night. Principal Meehan acknowledged their accomplishments and presented them with high honors distinction
The mayor congratulated the class for its achievements before presenting diplomas. Superintendent James Montepare presented the class, saying he could "not wait to see what wonderful things they bring to us in the future."
The Drury band played several selections and the graduating choir members sang "Whenever You Remember." The graduation concluded with a rendition of the class ode "We Are Young and Free Tonight," written by Quinn and Avery Witherell, who also did the arrangement.
Salutatorian Katie Candiloro reminded the class they had learned all their basic lessons in kindergarten — to watch out for traffic, flush, wash your hands, put things back where you found them, take a nap every afternoon, etc. Most importantly, they had learned to hold hands and stick together.
"As much as we have grown and matured the simple concepts — the ones we learned in kindergarten — still hold true," she said, calling on her classmates to hold hands and continue to share as they had through high school. "By sticking together we will be able to find our place and make a difference. ...
"As we go out in the world together, remember these simple concepts we learned in kindergarten ... they're the first things you learned for a reason."
Robert Hillard III
Andre Martell III
Joseph Perry II
Ryan St. Cyr
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