Drury High School graduation a night to remember

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NORTH ADAMS — It was the night that will live forever in the memories of every member of the Drury High School Class of 2016.

Graduate Vanessa Thomas likely summed it up best.

"Oh my God this is happening!" she said at the outset of the evening.

Class president Kody Crosier delivered a brief welcome to the ceremony. City Mayor Richard J. Alcombright presented nearly all the diplomas to the graduating students.

A special moment unfolded when graduate Katelynn LaCosse was given her diploma by her brother, United States Army Specialist Richard LaCosse. Katlynn LaCosse was overcome with emotion when she saw her brother headed towards her.

LaCosse spoke about his sister prior to the ceremony.

"I've been here for two days and this is a surprise for her," LaCosse said. "I planned it with my father. I am so proud of her. This little girl has been striving to be the best and she has surpassed me in that aspect."

Class Valedictorian Olivia Carlson delivered a clever and poignant speech that included a message taken from the movie "Mean Girls."

While speaking about the 92-member class, Carlson spoke about the term "smart" and its many applications.

"Know that you, the Class of 2016, are a class of geeks, a class of artists, of friends, of athletes, of musicians," Carlson said. "A class of future doctors, mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, teachers, singers, hard-workers and do-gooders. I have no doubt that one day, I will have one of your CDs, if those will even still be a thing, playing in my car, that one day my children will sit in your classroom and that one day you will all do amazing things."

As her time at the podium wound down, she called attention to the golden-hued valedictorian sash she wore, and then she cut it to pieces.

"Although it is an honorable and humbling fashion statement, I would much rather, in true Lindsay Lohan style, share this honor with you," she said as she cut.

"So a piece for Skye Sweeney because your voice at the Holiday Show gave me goosebumps for an hour afterward," Carlson said as she walked to Sweeney and handed her a bit of cloth. "And a piece for Haley Brown because I'm pretty sure it's physically impossible to survive on as little sleep as you did while working part-time and still passing AP [Advanced Placement] Chemistry. And a piece for Bryan Marko because I aspire to be as happy as you were the night we crowned you Drury prom king."

Carlson was not finished with the handouts.

"And some for the rest," she exclaimed, pulling on a cord and sending dozens of golden-colored cloth squares cascading from the ceiling and down onto her classmates as cheers and applause burst through the room.

Salutatorian Michael Mazzu spoke about individuality and noted that even the best and the brightest people must face failure.

"A wise philosopher once told me that 'one doesn't just become salutatorian, those kinds of things don't just happen,'" Mazzu said and continued "But just like how Galileo was wrong about the earth being the center of the universe, I stand before you today the living proof that no one person can be right all the time, for as some of you know, your very own salutatorian failed two classes in the 3rd quarter."

He urged the class to follow their own hopes and dreams.

"So try new things until you find your passion," he said. "Pursue it like no other, take it and run like the devil, run like you stole it, and live a life you are proud to look back on."

Class Vice-president Katlyn Toomey said she was excited to celebrate her 18th birthday on graduation day.

"I am really happy," she said. "I wanted to be 18 before I graduated and I made it, barely."

Toomey plans to study athletic training at Castleton University, she said.

Joshua Hartman, 18, said that he is entering the workforce while 18-year-old Tarrenz LeClair said he plans to "explore careers."

High school Principal Amy S. Meehan urged the graduates to become "superheroes" as they enter the world.

"Courage, justice, hope, perseverance and truth are a few characteristics exhibited by super humans," she said. "And these are the very attributes I have witnessed in each and every one of our seniors, as you struggled through your own defining moments, making you who you are today."

Meehan asked the class to rise and make a promise:

"As members of the Class of 2016, I promise to be the hero in my own life, so I may turn fears into fierceness, turn I can'ts into I cans, and turn my adversities into achievements."

Meehan concluded her words with a blessing.

"May you go forth, with courage and confidence, poise and passion," she said.


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