Small in numbers, large in spirit: Mahar graduates 56

Members of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) during graduation on Friday.

Members of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) during graduation on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Seniors at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School take a selfie in the gym prior to graduation on Friday in Orange.

Seniors at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School take a selfie in the gym prior to graduation on Friday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Seniors process onto the athletic field for graduation.

Seniors process onto the athletic field for graduation. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Senior Class Vice President Jaxson Archambault addresses fellow grads and family.

Senior Class Vice President Jaxson Archambault addresses fellow grads and family. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Seniors line up in the gym prior to graduation on Friday.

Seniors line up in the gym prior to graduation on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Keynote speaker Daniel Guertin addresses the graduates on Friday.

Keynote speaker Daniel Guertin addresses the graduates on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Seniors at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School process onto the athletic field for graduation on Friday in Orange.

Seniors at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School process onto the athletic field for graduation on Friday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-31-2024 8:22 PM

Modified: 05-31-2024 9:25 PM


ORANGE — Seated at the 10-yard line of the James S. Woodward Athletic Complex, the members of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s perhaps smallest-ever class crossed into a different end zone of sorts on Friday evening.

Fifty-six graduates moved their tassels from the right to the left in front of their loved ones as they closed a chapter of their lives and officially became Mahar alumni.

Elizabeth Zielinski, superintendent of the Ralph C. Mahar Regional and Union 73 school districts, lauded the graduates for their hard work and congratulated the adults in their lives.

“You got this far,” she said.

Referring to academic careers marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zielinski said the graduates endured “tears and Zoom meetings and stress” but did “a job well done in very trying times.”

Similarly, Jaxson Archambault, class vice president, mentioned how he and his classmates entered Mahar as prepubescent teens stuck at home learning online.

“Today is a day of celebration, reflection, and anticipation,” he said. “As we gather here to mark this significant milestone, we are reminded of the incredible journey that has brought us to this point. It has been a journey filled with hard work, perseverance, and countless moments of growth and learning.”

Archambault said many of the graduates will receive their bachelor’s degree in four years and some will eventually be parents who reminisce to their children about their own high school days.

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“While these ideas seem far-fetched, they are not and this is the reality for many of us. Time will fly by as high school did,” he said. “I know we will all do great things and I am truly proud to represent the Class of 2024. As we grow old, our memories will forever stay the same.”

Keynote speaker Daniel Guertin, a science teacher and a 2000 graduate of Mahar, commended the graduates for their perseverance over the past several years.

“You will always stand out in my life,” he said. “Stay awesome.”

Class President David Vitello said this year’s graduating class may be small in numbers, but not in achievements. For comparison, 76 students graduated in 2023. Vitello cited accomplishments in soccer, basketball and Key Club, to name a few, and said his classmates acted as fine examples of school spirit and class camaraderie.

Vitello also said the average American lives about 80 years — that’s 960 months, or 29,200 days, or 700,800 hours, or 42,048,000 minutes.

“When put into that terminology, it should inspire one to make the most of every minute. One of the biggest regrets of people in their old age is not pausing to appreciate life. Take a look around, and for once free yourself of the constant urge to hurry up,” he said. “True fulfillment is reached through happiness, and happiness is reached through stopping to smell the roses.”

Graduates

Ace Rayne Allen, Jaxson Thomas Archambault, Noah Raymond Bailey, William Rafferty, Barnes, Richard Jason Beeman, Trinity Amrie-Nevea Bergeron, Isabella Jasmin Young Hawk Bodon, Logan Mary Burke, Arianna Marie Canning, Josiah Joseph Cardona, Owen Benjamin Carl, Franklin Lovegrove Chiodo, Dakota Mae Cleveland, Jalie Eileen Codrington, Benjamin Addison Cole, Kaedyn Steven Coy, Sophia Elizabeth Cronin, Audrey Grace Danielson, Brianna Marie Dicato, Ava Marilyn Doody, Alexander Scott Dowler, Obi Leif Eaton, Hazel Brook Emery, Ilana Elisabeth Gariepy, Christian Fernando Gonzalez Sagastume, Brendan Walter John Gruszkowski, Michael Edward Hall, Kyle Scott Hardy, Lucas Isrow, Adam Marino Lopes Malo, Joshua Noel Jenks, John Joseph Alfonso King, Jeffrey Paul LaPlante, Kealan Daniel Lawrence, Brianna Josephine Maillet, Nora Elizabeth Mathurin, Laura Patrice McGinnis, Darik Ryan Parlett, Megan Elizabeth Parse, Alivia Marie Patch, Mackenzie Marie Phinney, Noah Jacob Rich, Sayyid Eugene Roberts, Caleb Joseph Rodriguez, Melony Normari Rodriguez, Lucien Ian Rolski, Julian Joseph Smith, Hailey Morgan Sousa, Treighton Mark St. Pierre, Anthony Jovan Stone, Carmichael Brayden Thompson, Kenneth Valliere, David Edward Vitello, Brooke Jean Voudren, Dominic George Whitman and Evan Michael Woodbury.