DALTON -- Urged by their class leaders to work hard and to preserve their "small town values," 161 Wahconah Regional High School seniors received their diplomas yesterday.
Seated beneath a banner on which was inscribed Eleanor Roosevelt's dictum that "the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams," graduates were advised by valedictorian Amy Wallace to give their best effort to any task that confronts them.
Wallace also observed that while the lure of a relatively lucrative summer job might prove tempting, it should not be allowed to obscure the pleasures of leisure time.
"Make sure you have fun, too," said Wallace.
After all, she said, future summers are likely to be largely taken up with work.
Graduates' personal ambition will play a large role in determining their course in life, said Hanna Smith, the class' salutatorian.
"Your own motivation will determine how successful you will be" in a competitive job market, she said.
Referring to the class as "a great bunch of kids to work with," Principal Thomas Callahan also paid tribute to Superintendent of Schools Harvey S. Horwitz, who could not attend yesterday's ceremony because of illness. Horwitz has announced his intention to retire this summer.
Horwitz, said Callahan, helped establish high standards throughout the district. He "brought the arts into every student's life," and expanded technological instruction.
The superintendent also "had the courage to tell people when they were wrong," said Callahan.
Observing that it often works outside the spotlight, Callahan also praised the School Committee, membership on which is "often an exercise in futility, at best" because of the state's regulatory and funding mechanisms. The contributions of the school district's staff to students' education also should not be overlooked, the principal said.
None of the district's schools have been the setting for violence, something for which everyone should be grateful, said Callahan. He also noted that more attention then ever is being paid to matters of security, a development that would have been unheard of only a few years ago.
"We're all small town people with small town values," declared the class' president, Seth Karpinski.
Observing that the social fibers that connect people appear to be weakening, Karpinski said that such practices as greeting neighbors should not be abandoned.
"We must remember where we came from," he said, "É and encourage our small town values no matter where life takes us."
Following the presentation of diplomas by Callahan, School Committee Chairwoman Janice Huebner and class advisers Robert Aeschback and Patricia Johnson, graduates erupted in cheers and fired yards of "Silly String" into the air.
The graduates: Kristin Elizabeth Alarie, Jason S. Allen, Ryan J. Allessio, Kara L. Auge, Aron Autenrieth, Bridget A. Bacon, J. Michael Bantjes, Asheley R. Bardin, Joshua Bates, Jessica Beauchamp, Adam Bell, Jaclyn Michelle Belland, Heather Nicole Bernard, Jessie E. Blake and Elizabeth Anne Blend.
Also, Kellie M. Cachat, Nicolas Cantu, Katey Marie Carlson-Farrell, Shauna J. Casella, Jessica Anne Casey, Jennifer Cease, Joshua Marek Chivers, Joseph A. Cliche, Phoebe L. Clune, Jessica L. Cormier, Matthew William Coviello, Rachael Darby, Jillian L. DeGiorgis, Travis DeGiorgis and Jamie-Lyn Ann Delaney.
Also, Kevin M. Delaney, Nina Ann DeLos Santos, Kathryn Erin Dempsey, Brett S. DeVergilio, Christopher Dietrich, Jessica Ann DiGirolamo, Nicholas DiSantis, Evan Donovan, Joseph E. Doyle, Erica D. Dresser, Bryan Drosehn, Kaila Drosehn, Thomas A. Ducharme, Abigail Elizabeth Elwood and Ashley Elizabeth Emerson.
Also, Jacob J. Emerson, Nicholas Finn, Kyle Fitzroy, Jeffrey Fox, Matthew Frontera, Elizabeth Celeste Gagnon, Nicole J. Gagnon, Mary Gelinas, Melissa Genovese, Stephanie Marie Gentzler, Justin J. Goddard, Cathleen Aniela Greb, Shannon Green, Nicole Marie Haas and Benjamin E. Harrison.
Also, Jason D. Haskins, Jedediah J. Hayn, Laura Hess, Richard G. Higgins II, Alexandre H. Hoechstetter, Wesley T. Horth, Amy T. Howard, Mark Ryan Jacobs, Diane Jasmin, Jeffrey C. Johnson, Bryan Johnston, Cassie D. Jordan, Seth P. Karpinski, Jessica L. Kovacs and Robert James Kubli.
Also, Brian J. Kulas, Joshua Lane, Walter Langendorf, Jeffrey Lawrence, Erin Elizabeth Lenski, Shaun Letourneau, Jeremy Levernoch, Ari Levitt, Andrew Liebenow, Bridget Hart Martin, Emily Rose Massaro, Sonya Rose Mathers, Jacob McKim, Jennifer L. Melle and Joshua Meunier.
Also, Matthew P. Meunier, Darin S. Middlebrook, Jessica Morse, Amy L. Mottor, Courtney E. Mulcahy, +Joshua C. Mullett, Lori Mullett, Jennifer Lee Norton, Mandy L. Oliver, Michael Partridge, John E. Pedrotti, Mark Perras, Brian Pickard, Marcie N. Pilling and Stephanie H. Pingryn.
Also, Heidi-Lynn Marie Plant, Tara Lynn Pratt, Melody Ann Provencher, Sarah Ann Rattigan, Bruce P. Reardon, Melissa Jayne Riddell, Matthew B. Riley, Gina Lee Robitaille, Matthew Rodriguez, Lindsay Marie Rowe, Darcie Gaylyn Rudd, Joseph Daniel Rufo, Loretta Jung Scapin, Andrew Joseph Schildmeyer and Lindsay M. Schnopp.
Also, Michelle Schutack, Margaret L. Shelsy, Stephanie Christine Sinclaire, Alison Rose Sinopoli, Connor J. Smith, Hanna Rose Smith, Jennifer J. Smith, Brian Matthew Spencer, Kira A. Staubach, Aaron M. Stransky, Jacquelyn Lee Sturtevant, David C. Sullivan, Kristle Lynn Surriner, Michael P. Swail and Phillip L. Swift.
Also, Mandy Lee Symonds, Jennifer Sue Taylor, Tula Simone Taylor, Jennifer Lynn Tebo, Celia Elizabeth Thorne, Isaac Merle Tirrell, Timothy Toomey, Michele G. Torchia, Ryan Touponce, Brendan Townend, Christina Marie Tremblay, Lindsay Elaine Tucker and Tina Tyska.
Also, Cara Eissmann Veremko, Amy, Wallace, Lindsay Rachel Wallace, Brendan M. Walsh, Daniel Walto, Amy Elizabeth Welch, Kristin Renee Wilbur, Ryan M. Williams, Matthew Barry Winsett, Benjamin R. Witruk, Sarah L. Witruk, Jeremy Wolf and Matthew Zurawik.