‘Remember who you are,’ Turners Falls principal advises Class of 2024

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 students Jacob Reich, Jasmine MacNamara and Noah DeLorenzo play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the commencement ceremony on Friday.

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 students Jacob Reich, Jasmine MacNamara and Noah DeLorenzo play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the commencement ceremony on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 senior Jaade Duncan and her classmates process into the gymnasium during the commencement ceremony on Friday.

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 senior Jaade Duncan and her classmates process into the gymnasium during the commencement ceremony on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 President Ricky Pareja speaks at the commencement ceremony on Friday.

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 President Ricky Pareja speaks at the commencement ceremony on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 seniors Sydney Rivera, Isabella Vachula-Curtis and Ella O’Keefe before the commencement ceremony on Friday.

Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 seniors Sydney Rivera, Isabella Vachula-Curtis and Ella O’Keefe before the commencement ceremony on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 stands at the beginning of the commencement ceremony on Friday evening.

The Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 stands at the beginning of the commencement ceremony on Friday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 stands at the beginning of the commencement ceremony on Friday evening.

The Turners Falls High School Class of 2024 stands at the beginning of the commencement ceremony on Friday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-07-2024 8:25 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Proud families smiled and cheered as 53 Turners Falls High School graduates walked across the stage of the gymnasium to receive their diplomas Friday evening.

Opening the commencement ceremony, Class President Ricky Pareja teared up while he addressed his classmates, reflecting on the 13 years they spent growing up together and wishing them well as they begin their adult lives.

“It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the front steps to my house waiting for the bus to pick me up for kindergarten,” Pareja said. “Now we are here, figuring out how to navigate this world by ourselves. ... It is the moments we shared and the relationships we built that we will remember long after we leave Turners Falls.”

Pareja went on to thank teachers, faculty and his parents for their years of support, noting that none of the graduates would be where they are “both literally and figuratively” without their parents. He later reiterated the speech in Spanish before picking up a saxophone and joining the band for a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

Later on, the valedictorian and salutatorian — twin sisters Anne and Ella Kolodziej, respectively — took turns reading a combined speech, in which Ella noted that the process of becoming valedictorian and salutatorian was simpler than writing their speeches.

Anne applauded her classmates for being one of the most academically competitive in recent years, noting that 18 out of the 53 Class of 2024 graduates graduated with a 4.0 grade point average or higher. Ella later noted that the class did not reserve its competitive nature for academics, pointing to the successes of the class’ athletics and theater departments.

“As seniors, we brought the school community closer together at any event. ... We didn’t just bring energy, we brought people that filled the stands. You could go to any school event and find a large number of students present. Through this, I think we made this school a place where students truly wanted to be,” Ella said.

In his charge to the graduates, Principal Christopher Barnes commended the class for its intelligence and character over the last four years before calling on the class to use their character to accomplish great things.

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In doing so, Barnes alluded to a senior prank in which the class covered his office with Post-It notes.

“My call to action for you is to take your intelligence and good character, and with it, do great things. Remember who you have become and create the positive connections that will change your life and the lives of others. Recall the adults that have created connections with you and impacted your lives, so that you may pay it forward. You are an outstanding group of young people and your intelligence and character will change the world — if you only remember who you are,” Barnes said. “Post-Its are great for remembering things. They are versatile, they are reliable and they force concise thoughts.”

Graduates

*National Honor Society

**Valedictorian

Anthony Richard Arabia, Sheala Prudencia Arce, Otilia Marcia Bartolon, Ian Joseph Bastarache, Grayson Walter Bowse*, Michael William Pergantides Boyle, Cameron Jude Burnett*, Kiri Nathaniel Corbin, Elliot Mack Cox, Noah James DeLorenzo, Trent Francis Dobias, Kyleigh Rose Dobosz, Jaade Yasmena Duncan, Reyli Osvi Galvez-Martin, Khrystinalyn Joann Victoria Gomez Thorne, Taylor Elyssa Greene, Katelyn Marie Grise, Fiona Emily Hutchison*, Logan Jacob Johnson, Syna Elise Katsoulis*, Aiden Michael Kelly*, Anne Katherine Kolodziej**, Ella Grace Kolodziej*, Audrey Violet Stetson Lapinski*, Owen Ajay LaValley*, Megan May Leveille, Regan Jane Marshall, Cody Roann McDonough, Jasmine Christine Mae McNamara*, Joseph Laurence Mosca*, Holly K. Myers*, Ella Caroline O’Keefe, Ayleen Eulalia Ovalle Perez, Ricky Mcbyron Pareja*, Raygan Virginia Pendriss*, Eden Potts, Jacob Bernard Reich, Aubrianna Leigh Renaud, Jillian Grace Reynolds*, Dylen Michael Richardson, Sydney Marie Rivera, David Angel Rodriguez, Geovannie Lancy Shand, Kross Anthony Simmons, Deven Ryan Sloan, Gage Logan Stanislawski, Caden Joseph Swindell, Avery Emmaline Tela*, Kaleb Michael Torres, Jack Brewer Trombi, Branden John Truesdell, Isabella Rolande Vachula-Curtis and Derek Trey Wissmann.

Scholarships

Annie S. Barclay Scholarship: Raygan Pendriss; Arthur E. Neipp Scholarship: Grayson Bowse; Bete Fog Nozzle Hockey Scholarship: Derek Wissman; Bill Petravage Memorial Scholarship: Logan Johnson; Bordeau Family Scholarship: Avery Tela, Aiden Kelly; Brian Bogusz Athletic Scholarship: Cameron Burnett, Joseph Mosca, Holly Myers; Edward Brown Memorial Scholarship: Isabella Vachula-Curtis; Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej; P.I.E.E. Scholarship (Partners in Education at Erving): Anne Kolodziej; Erving Teachers Association Scholarship: Audrey Lapinski; Franklin First Credit Union: Joseph Mosca; George Bush Scholarship: Joseph Mosca; Gill-Montague Education Association Scholarship (GMEA): Holly Myers; Gilmond Lamore Memorial Scholarship: Ricky Pareja; Greenfield Tennis Association Award: Michael Boyle; H. Royer Collins Student Athlete Scholarship: Anne Kolodziej; Harriot E. Tidd Memorial Scholarship: Owen LaValley; In Memory of Frederick S. Lego AKA Newt Guilbault Baseball League Scholarship: Joseph Mosca; Jillian Mackin Betters Memorial Scholarship: Ricky Pareja, Fiona Hutchison; Madeline J. Carlson Scholarship in Memory of Marion Packard Carlson: Ayleen Ovalle Perez, Aiden Kelly, Jaade Duncan, Michael Boyle, Jasmine McNamara; Massachusetts Association of Student Councils Commonwealth Award: Fiona Hutchison, Jasmine McNamara, Owen LaValley; Massachusetts Elks Association Most Valuable Student Scholarship: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej; Mery O’Brien Memorial Scholarship: Syna Katsoulis, Jaade Duncan, Ricky Pareja, Logan Johnson; Molly Baxter Photography: Cameron Burnett and Anne Kolodziej; Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts: Audrey Lapinski; Russell H. Kimball Scholarship: Raygan Pendriss; TFHS Class of 1964 Scholarship: Michael Boyle, Owen LaValley; Class of 1957 Scholarship: Fiona Hutchison; Connie Sicard Scholarship: Ricky Pareja; Fred Wells Scholarship Fund: Michael Boyle, Taylor Greene, Jasmine McNamara, Joseph Mosca, Ella O’Keefe, Jillian Reynolds; John and Abigail Adams Scholarship: Michael Boyle, Fiona Hutchison, Logan Johnson, Syna Katsoulis, Aiden Kelly, Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Audrey Lapinski, Regan Marshall, Holly Myers, Ricky Pareja, Jillian Reynolds, Avery Tela; Montague Elks 2521 Scholarship: Ella Kolodziej, Ricky Pareja; Nate Lucas Memorial Scholarship Fund: Cody McDonough; Sandy Miner Scholarship: Michael Boyle, Fiona Hutchison, Audrey Lapinski; The Women’s Club: Audrey Lapinski; Turners Falls Alumni Association: Joseph Mosca; Turners Falls Athletic Club Scholarship: Joseph Mosca, Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Taylor Greene, Owen LaValley.

Junior Book Awards

Western New England University Book Award: Sofia Moreno; Williams College Book Award: Khiarieliex Huertas Hernandez; Student Sage Award at Russell Sage College: Sheni Ovalle Roblero, Ripley Dresser; Smith College Club Book Award: Mia Marigliano.

Academic Awards

President’s Awards for Academic Achievement: Grayson Bowse, Geovannie Shand, Ian Bastarache, Jacob Reich, Ayleen Ovalle Perez, Raygan Pendriss, Isabella Vachula-Curtis, Aiden Kelly, Joseph Mosca, Logan Johnson; President’s Awards for Academic Excellence: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Avery Tela, Holly Myers, Michael Boyle, Audrey Lapinski, Fiona Hutchison, Jillian Reynolds, Ricky Pareja, Syna Katsoulis; Excellence in Art: Jacob Reich; Excellence in Film Editing: Taylor Greene; Excellence in Filmmaking: Logan Johnson; Excellence in English: Avery Tela; Class of 1947 English Award for Outstanding Effort: Audrey Lapinski; Excellence in French: Isabella Vachula-Curtis; Excellence in Latin: Jillian Reynolds; Excellence in Spanish: Ricky Pareja; Excellence in Life Science: Ayleen Ovalle Perez; Excellence in Physical Science: Ricky Pareja; Excellence in MakerLab: Michael Boyle; Design Build: Avery Tela; Graphic Arts: Avery Tela; Excellence in Mathematics: Ricky Pareja; Excellence in Physical Education: Trent Dobias; Excellence in Yearbook: Fiona Hutchison; Society of Women Engineers Boston: Avery Tela; American Citizenship Award: Michael Boyle, Audrey Lapinski; Massachusetts Association of Student Councils Commonwealth Award: Fiona Hutchison, Jasmine McNamara, Owen LaValley; Turners Falls High School Class of 2024: Syna Katsoulis; Ellen Wrightson Memorial Award: Elliot Cox; Biliteracy Achievement Award in Latin: Michael Boyle, Fiona Hutchison, Audrey Lapinski, Jillian Reynolds; Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy in English and Spanish: Ayleen Ovalle Perez, Reyli Galvez-Martin; Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy in English and Spanish (with distinction): Ricky Pareja; Scholastic Merit Award: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Avery Tela, Holly Myers, Michael Boyle; Salutatorian Award: Ella Kolodziej; Valedictorian Award: Anne Kolodziej.

Athletic Awards

Field Hockey MVP: Avery Tela; Soccer MVP: Anne Kolodziej, Ella Kolodziej, Ricky Pareja; Golf MVP: Joseph Mosca; Volleyball MVP: Taylor Greene; Basketball MVP: Branden Truesdell; Swim MVP: Cody Mc Donough; Joseph J. Sheff Memorial Award: Dylen Richardson; Baseball MV P: Joseph Mosca; Marston Baseball Award: Dylen Richardson; Tennis MVP: Fiona Hutchison; Softball MVP: Holly Myers; Football MVP: Owen LaValley; Track & Field MVP: Jaade Duncan.