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Mount Greylock graduates participate in a post-ceremony car parade on Spring Street.

Mount Greylock Grads Prepared for Ever-Changing World

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Julius Munemo, chosen by his classmates, and Ruth Weaver, chosen by the faculty, address Saturday morning's graduation ceremony at Mount Greylock. More photos to come.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In reflections both sweeping and intimate, the Mount Greylock Regional School's 2021 class speakers Saturday talked about the often frightening ways the world has changed them and how the school prepared them to change the world. 
"High school was a playground, a sandbox, to have a simulated go at real life," Julius Munemo told the crowd assembled outside the school. "A real life defined by what you say and what you do; by what you chose to be, when the world wants you to be something else. The fact that we can remember moments from our time here and cringe is a good thing. It's proof that we've developed something between our ears."
Mount Greylock graduated 84 seniors at Saturday morning's ceremony, held for a second straight year outside the school building. 
Munemo was chosen by his classmates to deliver an address. Ruth Weaver, who also performed a stirring rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," was chosen by the faculty to speak. 
Munemo chose as his theme, "the world is a machine of change," and talked about the personal journeys of change each senior experienced at the middle-high school.
And he told them that as they changed, they also became agents of change.
"We affected some change together, I'm sure of it," Munemo said. "Maybe it wasn't the stand-outs or the protests so many of us cared so much about. But maybe it was. Either way, I don't think the scale of that change is important. We made choices which had ramifications.
"Think about that. Friendships and relationships were created, and then broken, social groups and cliques were split and divided. Simulated life wasn't always clean and it wasn't always painless, we didn't always change the whole world-but we never failed to change each other."
Weaver talked about how the world changed in the seniors' brief lifetimes and the challenge of coping with the day to day turmoil of life in 2021. 
"On the Snapchat 'news' page alone, I'm hearing that a hundred people died in five different places and that I have to do something about it," Weaver said. "That this piece of plastic is killing this sea animal. That this politician hid this, that I have to sign this, that I am standing comfortably by as a hundred million people are tortured or starved.
"Oh my god. That's a lot. It's a ton of responsibility, which is yet again a good thing, but it's an abstract new responsibility. It's not being told to do the dishes or walk the dog. It's being told to grow up and learn to keep up. Quick."
Weaver admitted that, for her, life can be overwhelming, and it was long before the COVID-19 pandemic. 
"While the Parkland shooter fired his first shots, I was taking selfies in Mr. Louis' directed study," Weaver said. "I still have the pictures — they're not good, considering I was in ninth grade and my braces and acne kind of overpower the poorly applied lipstick. I can't bring myself to delete them, and I can't enjoy them either: they are forever the shallow, poorly lit pictures I was taking while kids my age were getting shot at. And those moments, when we as young people find the problems of the entire world falling around us, is what is in the heart of our generation."
But Weaver, like Munemo, offered hope, assuring the soon-to-be graduates that Mount Greylock had prepared them to face the challenge of life in the mid-21st century.
"Math is not just knowing how to find the area under the curve; it is understanding the logic, the step-by-step, the deductive reasoning, and understanding how to apply that to real life," she said. "Language is not just studying stories written by dead people or knowing how to write and read; it is knowing how to creatively communicate, express yourself, and experience the human condition of a thousand more people than you could ever be.
"And since I have thanked our teachers and illustrated the gifts all of them have given us, I likewise want to thank my fellow classmates for stepping up to become the community in which we could practice, debate, sometimes make fun of, and ultimately genuinely struggle with these big problems. Our class has never backed down from a challenge, whether that is extracurriculars, jobs, academics, or spike ball, and we kept each other on our toes. I am proud of us."
The class of 2021 singled out two members of the staff who helped them on their journey of change. The seniors voted Sean Flaherty as staff member of the year and math teacher Lucas Polidoro as faculty member of the year. 
Polidoro talked about his interview for a position at Mount Greylock. He said he was asked about his philosophy of education and admitted Saturday that he had no good answer at the time. But he does have an answer now, and adapted it to share one last lesson with the graduating seniors.
"My educational philosophy revolves around fostering relationships with students and reflecting daily on my teaching," Polidoro said. "When you get to know each student, take time to talk to them, go to their plays and their games, you earn their respect.
"To the Class of 2021, take the time to get to know the people in your life."
The Mount Greylock Class of 2021:
Dominique Auriemma
Delaney Gillian Babcock
Isabel MacPherson Beauchamp
McKenna Acelynn Boleng
Aurora Jennifer Bullett
Talia Lucia Cappadona
Croft Johannes Carter
Jordyn Michelle Codding
Priya D'Souza*
Briana Grace Dowling*
Colin Patrick Doyle
Nicholas Jonathan Duda
Elizabeth Marie Dupras
Laura Rose Dupuis*
William Finneas Ellingwood*
Michael James Faulkner*
Amanda Lyn Filiault
Lana Elizabeth Foley
Samuel Michael Garvey
Gabriel Mateo Gerry
Hannah Jane Gilooly
Jack Brandon Gitterman
Jeremy Isaac Guy
Claire Marie Hall*
Emma Rain Hayward
Madison Michelle Helm
Kaitlyn Elizabeth Hutton
Charles Joshua Tower Johnson
Jayden Marie Johnson
Carolyn Nan Jones*
Isabella Leigh Kirby
Isabelle Sawicky Leonard*
Lily Mackenzie Lesieur
Oscar Scott Low*
Nicholas Milan Markovic
Taylor Lee Mason
Rebecca Elizabeth Maynard
John Dylan McAlister
Col Henry McDermott*
William Samuel McDonough*
Charles Philip McWeeny*
Clarissa Caffrey McWeeny*
Victoria Ani Melkonyan*
Corban Thomas Miller
Julius Alexander Munemo
Kylie Dawn Myers
Erin Elizabeth O'Keefe*
Jasmine Matias Pajimola
Jhonzel Matias Pajimola
Emma Brynn Paul
Leah Rachel Petricca
Alyssa Bernice Phelps
Joshua Alexander Polumbo
Benjamin Hamilton Prescott
Elizabeth Sue Ramos
Jack Julius Rosier
Jordan Marie Rosier
Patrick Joseph Ross
Leo Jerome Rossitter
Abigail Anna Rudin
Jamieson Morse Sanborn
Ana Alizabeth Sandifer
Charlotte Vaughan Sanford*
Pablo Daniel Santos Goldfarb
Trevor John Sawyer
Seth Aiden Schultheis
Hazel Mae Stack Scullin
Brandon David Sills
John Harvey Skavlem*
Matthew Chester Sorrell
William Michael Starenko
Hayden Michael Steadwell-Brundige
Emma Pauline Stevens
Solomon Jonathon Sutter
Nathan Antonio Taveras
Kyle Francis Trottier
Mia Haley VanDeurzen*
Gina LiMin Wang
Ruth Jacqueline Amanda Weaver*+
Jacqueline Rymer Wells*
Aiden Michael Wilkins
Fiona Jane Williams*
Alexander John Wilson*
Olivia Violet Winters*
*National Honor Society
+Latin National Honor Society

Tags: graduation 2021,   MGRHS,   

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