Class of 2010 Sent on Its Way
By: Elise R. Hugus
They had spent their entire high school careers in a building under renovation. But on Sunday, they were the first class to graduate at the newly completed Falmouth High School.
Inclement weather postponed graduation day for Falmouth seniors, and the threat of rain and thunderstorms caused the ceremony to be held inside the freshly painted school gymnasium instead of outdoors.
Yet, the excitement was palpable as families lined up outside the Robert V. Antonucci Field House on Sunday afternoon, settling into bleachers under the gym’s pyramid skylight while the band played the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.”
The Class of 2010, dressed in maroon and white, wore smiles and looks of careful concentration as they streamed in to take their seats, step by measured step. Sneaking thumbs up to their parents, teachers, and administrators on the sidelines, 256 graduates contemplated their already-nostalgic past and their unknown futures.
Falmouth High School Principal Joseph C. Driscoll thanked the seniors for their cooperation and cheerful understanding while the school underwent a five-year renovation.
“This class changed the spirit of the Falmouth High School community,” Mr. Driscoll said, noting the new senior class tradition of recognizing students for their accomplishments during morning announcements, and their contributions to renovating the teen room at the Gus Canty Community Center.
The seniors chose Brittany M. Moore and Adam L. Paul as the classmates who personified “loyalty, honor, and service to their class and Falmouth High School,” said Mr. Driscoll. Their names will be added to the Roll of Honor, a bronze plaque in the high school’s main office.
The ceremony symbolizes the segue from youth to adulthood, remarked Kimberly Doherty, vice president of the senior class, in her welcoming address.
When we walk across this stage today to receive our diplomas, the certificates will not only represent what we have learned in our high school careers but the potential we have within ourselves to keep striving for knowledge and continue our educations.
-Kimberly Doherty, vice president
Class of 2010
Graduation was not a turning point only for seniors. Class advisor Alvin Kolodziejski, a special education instructor, will retire at the end of the school year after 34 years with Falmouth schools.
Class secretary and treasurer Kristine Bunker thanked “Mr. K” for four years of dedication to the class. Through the prom and various school events, “our class would not have accomplished nearly as much without the leadership and guidance of our class advisor, Mr. K,” she said.
In her commencement speech, National Honor Society President Lindsay E. Ladner acknowledged her own confusion as to what “newfound independence” would bring.
Drawing on the wisdom of her teachers, Ms. Ladner reminded her classmates of the value of what they have learned in high school, both academically and personally.
“The experiences we’ve shared together will stick with us as nostalgic memories of what will eventually become our version of the ‘good old days,’ ” she said. “We are heading into a world full of opportunities, and my greatest wish for my fellow classmates is that they take the time to explore every single one of them. Now is not the time to settle into a life that might be expected by others. Try everything that might interest you because at this point you really can be anything.”
Senior class President Joseph J. Andreassi lightened the tone with his speech, which he started reading as if he were running for class president again. When he “found” the right speech, he gave an overview of the Class of 2010’s highs and lows.
Taking classes in trailers and plywood-walled rooms in the gym gave students a chance to develop coping skills, Mr. Andreassi said.
“We were able to overcome using our abilities to persevere and ignore loud noises. I can remember a whole week where the fire alarms went off every day due to construction, and yet we still managed to learn. That’s dedication,” he said, calling for a round of applause “for learning.”
As juniors, the class had to cope with the loss of two fellow students in separate car accidents. “I know somewhere, they’re looking down on us and they’re glad to see us at this ceremony today,” said Mr. Andreassi, asking for a moment of silence to remember Shannon M. Thompson and Joshua R. Lopes.
“As a class we have overcome hardships that face high school teens in the 21st century and we have...transformed from nervous little freshmen to confident scholars, ready to tackle the problems of the world,” he continued, pointing out the seniors’ many accomplishments.
Not only did the boys’ basketball team bring Falmouth to the state division championships at Boston Garden this year, the band won a gold medal at the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education festival, the jazz band earned accolades at a music festival in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the math team competed at the New England-wide level.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of No Guff Day was a major highlight for the senior class, said Mr. Andreassi. In an era where some teens are driven to commit suicide due to bullying, he said No Guff spirit is embodied by all Falmouth High students.
Superintendent Marc P. Dupuis urged the seniors to continue to challenge themselves. “Always give back to your community and your families. Use your skills and talent to help other people,” he said. “I’m confident the Class of 2010 will continue to have a positive impact.”
As the seniors crossed the stage to receive their diplomas from school committee Chairman Jamie E. MacDonald IV and shake hands with Mr. Dupuis, their faces showed a mixture of elation and worry.
As the roll call went on, some families gained confidence that they would not be reprimanded for calling out their senior’s names, sneaking into blocked-off areas to snap a photo, or sounding air horns—to the consternation of school staff.
When all the seniors, from Christian Abarca to Christina Zink, had their diplomas in hand, the honor guard surrounded them, swaying and clapping to the tune of “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.
At the refrain of “release your inhibitions,” Mr. Andreassi seized the moment to sing into the microphone, before Mr. Driscoll cut him off.
Throwing their caps in the air outside, members of the Class of 2010 celebrated their last moment together as a class, perhaps keeping their class president’s final words of advice in mind: “Never take the good times for granted, because who knows how many you’ll really have. Live in the moment, appreciate your past, and keep hope for what lies ahead.”
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