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Wilton-Lyndeborough seniors cap off year 

  • Olivia Skelly receives her diploma on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

  • A Wilton-Lyndeborough senior receives her diploma on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative 2017-18 seniors listen to a speech during a graduation ceremony held on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Logan Howard, who spent 45 days in a hospital during his senior year, received his diploma on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle High School Valedictorian Jacob Yurcak gives a graduation speech during the 2017-18 senior class commencement Friday, June 15, 2018. (Abby Kessler/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)  Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/18/2018 11:45:16 AM

Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District Valedictorian Jacob Yurcak ended his graduation speech by listing everything he is not.

“While I’ve earned the title of valedictorian I am not this without my class,” he said. “I am not the artist we see in Morgan Anderson, I am not the musician we see in Tate Fairbank I am not the rigorous organizer we see in Abby Van Ham, and I am not the natural comedian we see in Olivia Skelly.”

He quoted famous rapper Kanye West’s lyrics, “everything I’m not made me everything I am.”

“What I am and what we are is the class of 2018,” Yurcak said at the end of his speech.

Salutatorian Van Ham shared a similar message in her speech during the small graduation ceremony that was held in the school’s gymnasium on Friday evening. Seniors sat on a stage in the room under a sign with the Wayne Gretzky quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 

“I know there are things that I am certainly not fit for. For all of those who have had the extraordinary pleasure of witnessing my dis-coordination and humiliation in gym class … you’re welcome,” she said during part of her speech.

Despite discovering some things she had no natural knack for in high school, Van Ham also spent her time at Wilton-Lyndeborough uncovering subjects where she thrived.

She discovered an interest in the sciences and found out that she wasn’t bad at math despite her frustration with the subject. Most importantly, she said, she discovered a passion for music. 

“The people here, the classes, your peers have shaped you,” Van Ham said. “But you are not done growing, it is a lifelong journey, so I ask you to go forth and put yourself in uncomfortable situations, to make new friends and have tough experiences.”

Yurcak also talked about how the small class formed strong bonds during their time at the school during his speech. 

He made note of students binding together after classmate Logan Howard experienced a serious health issue. After the ceremony, Howard’s family said he woke up for school one morning in April with a headache. That day, Howard suffered from an atrioventricular malformation, or AVM, which is generally a defect in the arteries, veins, and capillaries common in the brain and spine. He spent the next 45 days in the hospital. The likelihood of living through the condition is about 2 percent.

“During his (Howard’s) recovery, I saw so many of our classmates offer help in any way they could, both close friends and distant classmates rooting for him,” Yurcak said. 

On Friday, Howard received his diploma in a wheelchair.

After graduation, Howard said he’s doing “nothing.”

But that’s not quite true. Howard will spend his time in physical and occupational therapy, in an attempt to make a 100 percent recovery and ditch the wheelchair altogether.

Although the class grew close over the years at the small school, each member of the class will follow different paths. Some are planning to pursue higher education while others are entering the workforce. No matter where life takes the 2017-18 Wilton-Lyndeborough graduates, Van Ham left her classmates with one final piece of advice, “try, you might be surprised by what happens.”


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