“I look forward to hearing about the wonderful things this class will accomplish as they move into the next phase of their life,” said TVHS principal Robert Morse. “Whether the next step in your life is college, the workforce, trade school or the military, you can, and I know will, make a big difference.”
Class of 2013 president Lexi Rienertson welcomed the crowd of parents, family, and friends that packed Mount Snow’s Grand Summit Ballroom. She was followed by Morse, who asked the graduates to stand up and point out their parents, a sign of thanks for their love and support. Morse also asked the crowd to join him in acknowledging the combined 95 years of support retiring TVHS educators Linda Hughes, Phil Moriarty, and Ilene Wax have provided for countless students.
“A mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates, but the greatest teachers inspire,” said Morse. “I believe these three teachers inspired their students every single day.”
Windham Southwest Supervisory Union Superintendent Nancy Talbott reflected on meeting many of the graduates at their middle school graduations, and, paraphrasing Garrison Keiller from “A Prairie Home Companion,” asked them to carry a sense of pride through life when reflecting on where they received their education. “I hope you remember to tell your own stories with pride,” said Talbott. “Tell the folks that you meet, proudly, that you’re from Twin Valley, where all the teachers are strong, all the parents are good looking, and all the students, well, the students are so specially talented.”
Valedictorian Jordan LaBonte remarked that while the high school is not the most physically appealing sight inside or out, the faculty is what makes it so special. ““Every single teacher that I have had cared about me and cared about you too,” LaBonte told her fellow graduates. “They push you to be better and they want you to succeed. Without them, more than half a dozen of us would not be sitting here tonight.”
LaBonte pointed out that six of the graduates had been together since they were three-year-olds in pre-school, and while they always stuck together, high school made them independent. “Every journey begins with a single step. This is our single step, and it’s time to start our journey.”
“If you’re too afraid to try or to succeed you won’t even have a chance,” said salutatorian Alex Kennedy. I think we can all agree the past four years have been far from perfect, but now that it’s time to move on, we should not waste time dwelling on what we should or could have done, but instead we should look forward to what comes next.”
Kennedy evoked lessons she had learned from her father, including the notion that doubt is what stops an individual from trying and succeeding. “As individuals we have a chance to do great things. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing.”
Reminiscing on their first day at Twin Valley as trembling, fearful freshmen, Whitney Murdock said it was fitting that the person who provided the first warm smile and welcoming words to her class in room 108 that day be the same one that sends them off as graduates. That welcoming first teacher was English teacher Christine Kurucz, the evening’s keynote speaker, who provided the class with one last structured paragraph, this time written by her.
“My topic sentence to you is you have two pieces of advice to always remember,” said Kurucz. “First, never stop learning. Just because you’re graduating, don’t think your learning stops. You’re entering a world that is ever changing at a rapid rate, do not be scared of that learning. For every piece of new knowledge, it means you can form opinions, make decisions, and communicate in a different way.
“Second,” continued Kurucz, “Be independent I’m not saying you can’t ask for help or guidance along the way, but you have to be confident in your ability to survive in this world.”
With her concluding sentence, Kurucz asked the class of 2013 to learn something new every day, and be confident they can stand on their own two feet.