Drury grads celebrate 'an ode to what we will accomplish'


NORTH ADAMS — "It's a new day in our lives, but it's also a farewell."

Those words of wisdom came from Drury High School Class of 2019 salutatorian Kelby LeSage during commencement exercises Thursday night in the gymnasium, where graduates were awarded their diplomas.

"The way I see it, we're not just classmates, we're family," he said. "And I know it won't be long until I start feeling homesick."

LeSage noted that when he started at Drury in the eighth grade, it was a "terrifying" experience, in a strange place with people he did not know. But as time went on, especially after he joined the band, things started to change.

"I had nothing to lose," he said. "And now I feel like the luckiest man alive that I took that risk."

He extolled his classmates for their work in science, the arts and in the community, noting that they "will be a positive force for change."

"Today is an ode to what we will accomplish as well as what we have already accomplished," LeSage said. "And we made those accomplishments together, as a family."

Then, he did one of his favorite things — he played with the band for one last time as it rendered its version of "Fantasia on the Dargason."

After the band played, valedictorian Vincienza Alicandri offered her unabashed congratulations to her classmates, along the way offering profuse gratitude to the teachers and administrators for all their hard work.

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She said that junior year was crazy partly due to the standardized tests ratcheting up the stress.

"All in an effort to please people we never even knew and will probably never meet — college administrators," Alicandri said.

She described senior year as "revolutionary."

"I've enjoyed the many things at Drury that let me soar higher than ever before."

Alicandri called out to her mother to stand up. When she did, Alicandri expressed her gratitude. "Mom, thank you for letting me be what I thought I couldn't be," she said.

After presenting high honors awards, Drury Principal Timothy Callahan talked about fear.

"Always do what you're afraid to do," he said. "If you're afraid of doing something, do it. So, as you think about what's in front of you, think about what scares you. Embrace that fear. That's how you learn. That's how you grow."

"Class of 2019, you are special," Callahan said. "And I'm gong to miss you more than you know, and I look forward to seeing what you can accomplish."

In the end, North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard took the stage and handed out diplomas to each and every graduate.


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