Walpole High School (WHS) bade farewell to the 144th graduating senior class in the annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 3. The graduation began with the procession of the faculty and seniors followed by Principal Stephen Imbusch addressing the audience.
Senior Class President Dana DeMartino awarded the class gift—a donation to the extracurricular fund and a monogrammed collar for Walpole Public Schools’ service dog, Rebel—which was accepted by Junior Class President Emery Murphy.
After the presentation of the class gift, Salutatorian Sylvia Lanni and Valedictorian Jess Fitzgerald made their speeches to their peers. Lanni’s speech used WHS’ chaotic hallways as a metaphor for life, and Fitzgerald’s discussed time and referenced the Harry Potter quote “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
“It was a huge honor and privilege to speak at graduation this year,” Fitzgerald said. “I was very happy to be able to speak to all my classmates and end our high school careers together, and although it was a bittersweet day, I could not have asked for a better ceremony or experience.”
Following the speeches, Imbusch announced the numerous scholarships and awards, which were presented by Vice Principals Sean Powers and Lee Tobey alongside other community members. Then, the diplomas were passed out by Assistant Superintendent Jean Kenney, who is retiring after working within Walpole Public Schools for 28 years, and School Committee Chairperson Jennifer Geosits.
“I truly appreciate the graduation ceremony for Walpole High School because it is always student-centered,” Kenney said. “I was particularly honored to confer the diplomas because it is the culmination of years of work and involvement in their education for our seniors. It was also meaningful to me because I know many of the seniors personally and had known some of them from kindergarten when I was principal at Fisher School.”
DeMartino then led the graduates in turning their tassels from right to left, symbolizing their transition from students to graduates, before tossing their caps into the air in celebration of their accomplishments.
“Graduating is bittersweet because even though I know it’s time to move on, I also know there’s a lot in WHS I’m going to miss. But I’m confident that our teachers and classes prepared us for whatever is out there,” DeMartino said. “As for graduation, it went so smoothly. It’s really satisfying to finally be the ones on that field after watching the grades before us graduate.”