DALTON, Mass. — Anna E. Duquette and Holden M. Nelson have been named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the 2019 graduating class at Wahconah Regional High School.
Both students will speak at graduation ceremonies on Sunday, June 2, at 1 p.m. in the school gymnasium. The valedictory speech is titled, "When an Opportunity Comes Knocking ... " and the salutatory address, "The Importance of Hard Work."
Duquette is the daughter of Dale and Lynn Duquette, both of Dalton. While at Wahconah, Duquette's academic program included Honors and Advanced Placement coursework. She is active in the many service projects sponsored by the National Honor Society and serves as the Wahconah Chapter's president. She is a morning news announcer, percussion section leader in the band and piano accompanist for chorus, and a member of the Apollonian Players.
Outside of school, she dances at Dalton Ballet and assists with Buddy dancers, volunteers at Stages Summer Theater
Camp, participates in a variety of church activities, plays piano at area nursing homes, and fundraises for the Western Mass Food Bank.
Duquette received the St. Anselm's College Book Award, the Current Topic Club of Dalton Book Award, and the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Rochester of New York for her leadership and dedication to difficult social issues. She has been recognized with schoolwide awards in English, Math, Social Studies, and Spanish, as well as for Leadership, Mock Trial, and Drama. She received the John F. Kennedy Make a Difference
Award, and her essay "Breaking Down Walls" was the chosen winner of the Berkshire Eagle / Berkshire Bank Martin Luther king Jr. Essay Contest. She was named a John and Abigail Adams Scholar and received the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2018.
She also has shadowed medical professionals in the Doctor for a Day program, and plans to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to study Nursing, where she has been accepted into the Commonwealth Honors College.
Nelson is the son of Michael Nelson and Angela Cantoni of Dalton. He also pursued an Honors and Advanced Placement college preparatory curriculum. A member of the National Honor Society, and the Triad musical honor society, he has also participated in Quiz Team and represented Wahconah on the "As Schools Match Wits" television program, Mock Trial and the Apollonian Players. He is involved in Wahconah's band, choir and pep band. Additionally, he is a runner on the cross country team and swims with the YMCA Polar Bears.
In the community, Holden has served on the Rotary Interact Club, has participated in a number of service projects and fundraisers through the National Honor Society, enjoys piano and musical theater, and has volunteered in the Stages Summer Theater Camp for the past two summers.
Holden received the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University of Rochester of New York, as well as the Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) Achievement Award for leadership and for contributing to school and community, and is a Quest Bridge Scholar. Holden has received the department awards for Math, Science, Social Studies, Drama, Latin, Quiz Team, and Chorus. He was named a John and Abigail Adams Scholar, and received the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery with Distinction from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2018.
Holden also participated in the Doctor for a Day program and plans to attend Westfield State University in the fall to study chemistry.
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