Lenox grads told to walk 'winding path, and do it without fear'


Photo Gallery | 2016 Lenox High School Graduation

Related | Lenox Memorial High School Class of 2016

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LENOX — Speaking passionately to fellow graduates, family and friends, valedictorian Grace Ellrodt urged her classmates at Lenox Memorial High School to carve their own way in life and eschew a "safer" path.

Commencement exercises attracted about 300 people to Tanglewood on a blustery, gray afternoon. Of the 40 seniors who graduated, 34 of them earned honors or high honors. A total of 23 Lenox students were members of either the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society or both organizations.

The class of 2016, said Ellrodt, is "exceptionally opinionated and passionate" in a variety of endeavors. She spoke fondly of many of her classmates' interests, from the Netflix series "The Walking Dead" to solar energy.

"In a world filled with rules," she said, "Lenox is a gem."

She urged her classmates to continue their efforts to move on a "winding path, and do it without fear."

Salutatorian Sydney King said she noticed that, as she and her classmates moved closer to the end of their respective senior years, the great closeness between the class began to dissipate.

"We define ourselves by numbers," she said. "[Grade point average]. Income. Class rank."

She and her classmates, King said, were continuously engrossed in achievement.

"Sometimes," she told her classmates, "it is necessary to learn how to say 'no.' You can't do everything."

In closing, King urged her classmates to "hang out with friends. Have an ice cream. We need to prioritize."

Superintendent Timothy Lee opened the commencement by noting that the 40 graduates were multitalented: scholars, actors, performers and athletes. Many, he said, in multiple roles.

"They are also compassionate and good people," he said.

Following the addresses, Joseph McNinch and Lucy Schwartz sang "Rivers and Roads" by the band The Head and the Heart. Class reflections were offered by Matthew Gilbert, Gabriella Straight, Cameron Aberhalden and Henrik Palmer.

Class president Emily Tibbets led the audience in the salute to the flag. Emily Czelusniak sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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