SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Sofia Giumarro is the valedictorian and Nicholas Boardman the salutatorian of the Mount Everett Regional School class of 2020.
This year's graduation was held on Saturday, June 6, at the school. Principal Jesse Carpenter has provided the following remarks on the top students.
Giumarro is the daughter of Sylvia Collins and Robert Giumarro. She is a remarkable young woman, talented in many ways, across arenas. She has been a high honors student throughout her time at Mount Everett and is a member of the National Honor Society. Intelligent, artistic, inquisitive and confident, she has been involved in the choral program at Mount Everett as well as many theater productions, including Shakespeare & Company's high school program Fall Festival of Shakespeare, and working with others behind the scenes to pull productions together.
Giumarro is a passionate learner, cultivating different thinking skills, developing a global view on current events and expressing her creativeness at every turn. A skilled linguist, she earned the Seal of Biliteracy in French while at Mount Everett. She has a passion for language and would like to be able to combine that with her creativeness. She is a learner in and of life and is aware that some lessons are not taught or learned in the classroom and is eager to explore life and all the options that she has yet to generate. We look forward to seeing all that Giumarro accomplishes during the next adventure she is soon to undertake.
She will be attending Williams College in the fall, where she is planning to study language or history.
Boardman is the son of Leah and Matthew Boardman. He is a rock: A reliable, hardworking and honest and modest young man. A dedicated student, he has challenged himself by taking the most rigorous courses at Mount Everett, has been a high honors student throughout his education and is a member of National Honor Society. He has never let any obstacle come between him and his goals. He continues to triumph in as well as out of school.
He is a member of the Interact group, which comes together to help support the community. Boardman is a four-year member of Model United Nations and started the Paws of a Cause charity event in the fourth grade. He plans to continue the annual fundraiser. Boardman has always been a helpful and dependable person; he is the first person many turn to when help is needed. He believes that throughout life help is needed in many forms for achievement and growth to really flourish. He has been and will continue to be a great mentor to others and we look forward to all that he will being back to his community as he continues his journey.
Boardman will be attending the University of New Haven in West Haven, Conn., where he plans to study forensic science.
Sofia Giumarro's valedictory
I want to thank you all for coming today to this rather unusual ceremony. While I must admit I wasn't thrilled about it at first, I do feel lucky that we get to have anything like this at all to tie off the end of our high school careers.
Obviously, this is not how any of us had imagined this to go. We, as young people largely uncertain about our futures, now have to face even more uncertainty. We've had to see so much happen in the world already this year: a pandemic, murder hornets, police violence, and we might even get some cicadas, which, while they're not quite locusts, certainly add to the feeling that we're being punished for something. What could be next? Thunder and deadly hail or a red tide could be likely in the climate we have now, if we want to continue in a biblical theme, but I wouldn't be surprised by most anything the world could throw at us.
I often hear people our parents' age saying that all the problems in the world are now going to be up to our generation to fix. In times like these, this sentence is a weighty burden. But the world has suffered before, and I think people like us, who are so unfortunately accustomed to tragedy, are uniquely resilient, and prepared to help each other get through. Despite this, we don't have any idea what it will be in five years that we will be dealing with, let alone 20.
I remember first coming to New Marlborough Central in fourth grade, having to switch schools and being giddy and terrified with this uncertainty of how everything would turn out for me. I didn't know anybody; when I saw the little red schoolhouse it felt like I was stepping back in time 100 years, and I knew it was going to be quite a different situation from what I was used to. I have the same odd feeling now as I approach my future, as I'm in much the same boat.
I know that what we go on to do will be a new experience for all of us, and most of us are probably ready for that. After years and years of the same people and places, even those that have become dear to us, it's still a relief to hit the refresh button and be done with it all.
People might say that we seniors are standing at a metaphorical crossroads. There are many paths, each of them tempting in their own way, and we would have to choose one. Rather, I would liken us to being each in our own little rowboat, stranded at sea in a storm. Perhaps we have a compass, or perhaps we can see land, but ultimately there is only so much we can do: the currents will bring us where they will. There is something to be said for paddling with all your strength towards one island, but you still might not get there. We have learned in these past few months that so much is out of our control, which we simply have to resign ourselves to.
However, if you simply surrender to the tides, you could be stranded forever, never making it to land. You do have to fight for what you believe in, even if you don't feel like you're making a large or immediate difference. At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to be too wise, I will say that I have learned that life contains a bunch of "mights" and "coulds." What we do with those options obviously shapes what our lives will become, but we must remember that we cannot all do everything.
We must remember that it is OK to let some opportunities go by, that it is OK to allow ourselves to fail at things we try. What makes the difference is when we pick ourselves up; where we decide to go next, what we decide to take with us as we continue, and how we decide to get ourselves there. I know we will all get ourselves to if not the place we dreamed of, the place we need to be, despite anything else the world will throw at us.
Nicholas Boardman's salutatory
First off I would like to say thank you to the teachers, staff, friends, and family for coming out here today to celebrate our official release into the great big ocean. While the circumstances surrounding this year's graduation are troublesome to say the least, I am thankful we were able to gather here today to celebrate our high school careers. I am honored to speak on behalf of the class of 2020 as my classmates behind me, with grit and determination, have overcome many barriers to reach this point in their lives. Today we celebrate the conclusion of 12 years of education with a day of recognition, memories, laughter, and joy.
Now according to speech 101, this is where I'm supposed to break the ice with the audience and tell a funny joke, like I know you want to hear this speech as much as I want to deliver it. But you've probably heard this same speech a hundred times over so I will refrain from doing so. This is also the part where the speaker is generally feeling a little nervous and is told to imagine the audience in their underwear but I find it much more settling seeing everyone in face masks instead.
But if your one those people who has heard this speech a hundred times over then you know this is the part where I get all fluffy comes next so don't find a way to get any more uncomfortable in your seats.
I have gone to Mount Everett since kindergarten and found many opportunities to develop skills and grow as a person. I can't say I have loved every minute of it but I can't say I have hated every minute of it either. I imagine the same is true for everyone sitting behind me now. But life is like waves in the ocean. There are moments of tranquility and the next you get knocked over with a mouthful of salty water. But it's what you do when you get knocked down that matters.
In my view you have two options; One, to lie there and drown in your failure. To accept your shortcoming as the only outcome you will ever achieve. Or two, to get up and keep fighting. It is that mentality to press forward that has gotten us to where we are today and where we will be tomorrow.
Our determination defines our success, our ability to overcome barriers even if we fail repeatedly in their presence. Like a baby's first time on a beach, we are a little scared of going forward. So I invite us all to keep moving against the current so that when we get far enough out to sea we stop fighting the waves and finally learn how to ride them.
One of the benefits of going to a small school is you get know everyone's faces. Regardless if you're going to college, entering the work force, taking a gap year, or collecting Cheeto dust, each of these faces is taking their own path to their future. If you loved every minute of high school or thought it was the cruelest four years of torture any person can be legally subjected to under the 8th Amendment or somewhere in between, I ask all of you to reflect on your time at Mount Everett.
We've all done extraordinary things here and we will continue doing great things in the future. It's important to remember the good times we shared together whether it be field trips across the world, exhilarating sports games, or conversations with your friends. It's these memories that we made along way that define our time in high school. Part of where you're going is where you came from but it's the journey that matters. Your time in high school is but the prologue of that journey and graduation marks the beginning of a new chapter. Every day is the first day for the rest of your lives, so let's make it worthwhile.
Now as I was writing this speech I was unsure how I should finish it. Perhaps I should wrap this up with a joke but them my mom showed me something I had once written. "The bad in our lives always seems to overshadow the good in it. But I believe there are great lessons to be learned from a couple of rain clouds and that's to think about sunshine above them."
Our futures won't be free be of troubles so I ask everyone here to always look for the good in everything and remember that even our darkest days only serve in comparison to our brightest ones. Thank you.
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