ConVal seniors say slow down, be kind, stay grounded, celebrate and love at the commencement Saturday

  • Sienna Sorbello and Faith Ohnesorge walk off the field after commencement at ConVal High School in Peterborough Saturday. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Hayley Cheviot of Hancock after receiving her diploma at ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • ConVal High School commencement in Peterborough Saturday, June 8, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/9/2019 7:02:06 PM

Stay grounded, celebrate, love and take the time to be kind were just some of the sentiments graduates shared Saturday morning as ConVal High School said goodbye to 159 seniors during its 2019 commencement ceremony in Peterborough.

Student speaker Anna McGuiness said what she needs right now is a reminder to take it slow and told her fellow graduates to use their time after high school to slow down enough to be kind, love and be loved.

“Ever since I was little there has been an urgency in me that has only been encouraged by school, which tells us to go faster work harder do better,” McGuiness said. “In high school, it can get easy to get caught up in the flow of things. The next essay, the next grade, the next test or exam or next due date. And as days turn to weeks to semesters to years everything can take on a ‘blink and you’ll miss’ it quality.”

But you can be too focused on “hitting the beats,” she said. “There is little fulfillment when work is first, passion and relationships second.”

She told the story of a moment during her junior year when she had stopped at the grocery store to buy items for a project. “And there was a woman in the aisle who had dropped her things all over the place and needed help picking them up. And it would have been so easy for me to stop, to be nice, and just help her. But I was on my way to a study session for an AP text next and I was worried I would be late if I paused for too long. I could feel the panic flutter in my chest. If I skip this beat will I ever find my way back into the rhythm? It seems ridiculous, but the fear is real. And in the moment I didn’t even think about it. I just left.”

McGuiness said she reflected back on that moment and began to realize how often strangers are kind to her and realized she wants to be someone who cares and takes the time for other people. She warned her classmates to not “get caught up in the dance.”

“These are real human moments that ground us in reality,” McGuiness said. “You have more time than you think. ConVal now more than ever needs people to just to be nice to each other. … It can be scary to take a moment, to fall out of step. But those moments are where you find what is real and what matters. You have all the time in the world, even when life is scary and hard and it seems as if you have time at all to do anything. The world is full of love. It is up to you to be brave enough to stand up and ask for it.”

Class president Daisy Young said she turned to graduation speeches on YouTube to find inspiration when writing her speech and found a common theme in the declaration “We made it!” A phrase, she said, she found silly.

“We were always going to make it. You see, the class of 2019 isn’t a class of slackers. We work hard and persevere,” Young said.

From the full AP classes to the four seniors – including Salutatorian Rachel Hurley – who were about to leave their own graduation ceremony to go and compete in the New England Championships for track and field, the class of 2019 is dedicated to success, she said.

“The reason for these successes isn’t just because we’re talented, but because we care. We are passionate. I never had any doubt in my mind that our class wasn’t going to make it. So, rather than celebrating how we made it, let’s celebrate how we got here,” Young said. “Let’s celebrate the friends who were willing to drive to your house with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to cheer you up, to comfort you through the SATs, your dog dying or a breakup. Let’s celebrate the parents, who chauffeured you from house to school for every practice, rehearsal, meeting, presentation until you finally passed your driver’s test.”

Young added there are many things worth celebrating that will remain after commencement. “The friendships we have made. The lessons you’ve learned. The passions you found here for making the perfect cutting board in wood shop, making your favorite teapot in ceramics, performing your best show, running your best mile time and being embraced by your team. Celebrate these things. Celebrate how they got you where you are today.”

Valedictorian Ryan Beal said told his classmates to dream, but stay grounded.

“Whoever told you to dream big was a liar,” Beal said. “Hear me out, dreams do have a purpose. They help to provide direction in our lives. For example, my dream is to go to college and eventually become a chemical engineer. Having this dream has allowed me to plan accordingly and work to make the dream a reality. The danger in dreaming comes from when we over dream. … At a point, too much dreaming, too much focusing on possibilities subtracts from the present. If I spend all my time thinking about how great life will be after high school, naturally I won’t find much enjoyment in high school.

Dwelling on the past or on things we cannot change such as an illness is also not useful, he said. Beal told his classmates to “see through the future’s facades and not dwell in the past.”

“Trust no future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead past bury its dead! Act, act in the living present,” Beal said quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life.”

Beal ended saying, “You don’t need to give up your dreams or forget the past, but try to stay grounded in the present. Reduce how much your mind drifts to the future or past, and try to limit the distractions in your life. We don’t have to be and aren’t always going to be successful in this endeavor, but trying is what is important. I don’t know what our futures hold, hopefully, success and joy, but what I do know, is that right now we are graduating.”

The Faculty and Staff Award went to Leah Stone.

Sarah Grossi presented the award saying it is the only award given at graduation and is given annually at commencement to a senior who staff and faculty believe best represents “spirit, unselfishness, service, leadership and accomplishment.”

As a tradition, Grossi withheld the winner’s name while speaking of her saying she is an athlete, caring teammate and hardworking student despite facing personal adversity.

Stone’s mother, Amy Jo Zaluki-Stone died unexpectedly on April 16; she was 53, according to her obituary.

“Even when faced with tragedy this student was still thinking of others,” Grossi said of Stone while holding back tears. “This student is truly one of the strongest people I know. She wants to be a teacher and one day we would be lucky to call her co-worker.”

Moira Milne, who was chosen by students to give a message to seniors talked about climate change and challenged students to not focus on MAGA – Make America Great Again – but on MEGA – Make Earth Great Again.

The speech has since been debated on Facebook and in letters to the editor for its appropriateness to the event.

“Human behavior, over only in the past 100 years, has accelerated climate change to an environmental emergency. It will be an emergency of survival,” she said. “But I hope to convince you that the solutions is you.”


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