Mount Everett Class of 2023 Emphasizes Strength and Community Ties
LENOX, Mass. — Mount Everett Regional School's class of 2023 was reminded of their strength and community support during commencement on Saturday morning.
Forty-seven students received their diplomas at Tanglewood's Koussevitzky Music Shed under cloudy-but-dry skies.
Principal Jesse Carpenter said that are not many communities where all of the adults involved in student lives care so much about each and every one.
"I hope that all of you on this stage recognize the special community that you have been a part of and give back to it as you move forward in your life. I want you to think about what your place is in this community and your overall community and how you can positively impact it in the future," he said.
"When you graduated from eighth grade, I had the privilege of speaking at your recognition night. It was my job to motivate you for high school to give you the necessary knowledge needed to be successful and to inspire you to be the best you can be and I guess drop some wisdom on you. That clearly worked because you're here now four years later."
Upon entering the Sheffield high school, he told the class to "fully commit" and reiterated that sentiment as they graduated.
"What I say to you on stage is whether you're going into the workforce, joining the military, or attending college next fall, I hope that you totally commit to what you do," Carpenter said.
"You are fully prepared for what comes next. You have shown perseverance and strength throughout your four years of high school. As I said before, you have overcome a pandemic that saw your ninth grade year short when we left in March, your sophomore year in a hybrid format where you're not in school every day, your junior year was closer to normal, and only this year really has been around the school year for you. If anyone's prepared to overcome obstacles it is you."
Valedictorian Kelsey Eichstedt asked her classmates to look back on all they have gone through together.
"It may not seem like it but we've been through a lot together," she said. "Every year we go through school with the same people with the exception of a few new students here and there and for the most part, we all grew up together."
Eichstedt said everyone has different talents and attributes, whether it is volleyball skills or scarfing down a foot-long sandwich in 30 seconds.
"We should just remember that we all came from the same place and where we came from. Remember not to leave our stories behind. We can't forget all we learned in high school," she said.
"Even in the grand scheme of things like college, many things we learned here seem useless and trivial but in retrospect, we all learned a lot from Mount Everett even if we don't think so. We all got our fundamental knowledge of anything from the same place. We all learned how to thrive socially and we learned to be better people in our world. The same world we're going to be in control of in just the next few years."
Salutatorian Jay Thomas Seward-Dailey spoke of mistakes that his loved ones and classmates have made throughout the years, including his brother starting a fire trying to make toast and a friend who drove his sister's car over a tree stump.
He said that at the end of the day, our birth is much more valuable than a toaster and none of us are above making mistakes.
"Wearing a mask and hiding our mistakes, we only burden our souls," Seward-Dailey said.
He explained that humans are bound to fail countless times in their lives but people don't remember the many small shortcomings, they remember the triumphs.
"So my challenge to all of you is to fail, fail, and fail again," he said to his classmates. "Prove that you have the strength to get back up."
Several students were awarded for their achievements in and out of the classroom.
The Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association Student Achievement Award for making a positive difference in the school community was given to Emma Goewey.
The Principal's Leadership Award for demonstrating the ability to combine academic excellence and leadership in school and community activities was given to Seward-Dailey.
Eichstedt was recognized with the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents' Award.
Southern Berkshire Regional Superintendent Beth Regulbuto hoped that this graduation made the students feel humbled, gracious, and thankful.
"I encourage you to take a moment to think of those people in your life who have helped you get here. Those people who have taught you, encouraged you, and loved you," she said.
"Right now, think with gratitude of the family members, friends, teachers, and coaches who shaped you, nurtured you, and demanded more from you as you navigated the long and winding road to the stage today and when is your moment to walk across the stage to accept your diploma, it is my hope that your heart will be filled with an enduring sense of pride and gratitude for your school, your school community, and your family."
The national anthem was sung by Rebekah English and Ruby English, the Mount Everett band performed "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar/James Ployhar and "Pirates of the Caribbean" by Michael Sweeney, and the Mount Everett chorus performed "Journey On" by Derrick Fox.
The 2023 graduates of Mount Everett Regional School