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Eighty-seven graduate from Conant High School

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—

  • Eighty-seven seniors graduated from Conant High School during a commencement ceremony at Franklin Pierce University on Friday, June 18, 2018. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, June 11, 2018

Conant High School Assistant Principal Richard Simoneau spoke from experience when he preached the importance of connections to the class of 2018 during the school’s graduation at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge on Friday.

Simoneau was serving as a chaperone for Conant’s prom last month when a few students asked him to dance, an offer he would continually decline that night in order to “maintain a certain level of decorum.”

“I let it slip away, although I believe making those connections with all of you and maintaining those threads will be the most important thing I do in my professional career,” said Simoneau, who stressed the importance of accepting others from all walks of life to connect with them. 

Simoneau may have expressed regret in his prior decision, but he soon made it up to those students – and everyone else in attendance during the commencement ceremony inside Franklin Pierce University’s Field House – when he cued the music and danced along to Justin Timberlake’s 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

“When those who have connected with you ask you to dance, don’t think – just dance,” Simoneau said.

Conant Principal Larry Pimental reflected on the growth that he and the class of 2018 experienced over the past four years.

Pimental, who became principal the same year the class of 2018 entered the high school, said that while he has become “heavier” and “grayer” in addition to becoming more mature, the 87 graduating seniors have “demonstrated evidence of resiliency, problem solving, collaboration, compassion and brilliance.”

“I started to think a little bit about my old age, and my generation’s old age, and 20 years from now my generation may need some people to help take care of them,” said Pimental.  “I’m going to rely on your generation to do that.”

Valedictorian Elizabeth Graff issued a challenge to her fellow classmates: listen more and talk less. 

“The world needs better listeners. Today I call upon myself as well as my peers to listen more and talk less,” said Graff. 

Graff said this challenge may be particularly difficult for her, as she has always been a talker. Graff recalled a time when she was 4-years-old and fell asleep mid-sentence, only to wake up 30 minutes later to finish it. 

“Sometimes listening simply means being observant and knowing what’s going on in the world around you. Listening does not mean that you should be silent or not stand up for what you believe in,” Graff said.

Salutatorian Emily Chen said she distinctly remembered feeling defeated when she first entered the Jaffrey-Rindge School District as a seventh grader. 

Chen was nervous at first that a smaller school would not be able to give her the opportunities that she could have elsewhere, but she soon realized that Conant was exactly where she wanted to be. 

“The close-knit culture of Conant is one of the most special aspects of the school… As a new student in seventh grade I would’ve never imagined how great my appreciation for Conant would be,” Chen said.

Conant taught her that everyone has the ability to shape their own success, she said. “I did not expect to contribute so much to the school and in return gain so much from it.”

Class president Riley Buckjune dispelled the notion that high school is preparation for the “real world” as she and her peers have already accomplished a number of incredible things in their high school tenure. 

“There’s no way you can tell me this hasn’t been the real world the whole time,” said Buckjune, who spoke of sports, drama, academic, community service, and other achievements. 

Jaffrey-Rindge Superintendent Reuben Duncan took inspiration for his speech from one of his idols growing up: tennis star Andre Agassi. 

Duncan, who learned much about Agassi by reading his autobiography, said Agassi was not able to truly thrive until he found his purpose in life. 

“You have such a promising future ahead and everything points to the notion that you will be successful. However, like Andre found out, life is never easy... with that in mind, I encourage you to find that passion, that higher purpose on which to focus… having this purpose will help you to navigate the difficult times and help you to thrive.”

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.