LENOX -- Emily Martin, valedictorian of the class of 2014 of Monument Mountain Regional High School, recounted on Sunday the journeys on which she embarked during her high school years. Some of them were good, she recalled, some of them not so good.
"But," said Martin to her classmates, "you are the ones who made those small moments so special. I would not have liked to spend my high school years with anyone else. So, thank you."
Martin's address came at the high school's 47th commencement exercises at Tanglewood under sunny skies on Sunday afternoon. A total of 126 students graduated this year.
Martin urged her fellow graduates to "live in the present and appreciate the experience life provides. Be engaged in the here and now."
If there was one word to describe her class, said Martin, it was "integrity."
"We have overcome adversity with courtesy, dignity and confidence," she said.
Salutatorian Kevin Li's address began with a slightly lighter touch, as Li noted that he pondered several options for his address, including a rap version of his experiences in high school, "or just your basic Q&A with the audience.
"But I wimped out," he admitted, "so you'll get the basic, old-fashioned graduation speech."
But Li made some good points, noting that, "we used to be scolded for thinking outside the box, but now, we're expected to," adding that the "universal fear with all of us is the fear of change.
"The past made us what we are today," said Li to his classmates. "Live in the present as much as you can."
He also noted wryly that some things will never change.
"When I came to Monument, I was a scrawny nerd," he said. "And while I like to think of myself as an athlete now, I'm still a scrawny nerd, and I'll be a scrawny nerd in 30 years."
The Spartones, the school's a cappella singing group, entertained the crowd between speeches with a harmonic version of the Beatles' classic "In My Life."
Superintendent Peter Dillon, in his introductory remarks, termed the class of 2014 "a remarkable group. You get the importance of values and