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Principal Jeannine Clark’s
Address to the graduating class
Good afternoon, before we begin I want to thank Mrs. Abeshouse as well as Jack Finegan for their wonderful performance. I would also like to thank Morgan Sample for creating the artwork that we have been using throughout the Class of 2020 celebrations.
It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome each of you to the graduation of the Class of 2020. I am happy to be associated with this remarkable group of young men and women who personify creativity, resilience through adversity and all that is truly right and good in our community. These are young people who have worked hard, played hard, respected and helped others and shown their peers, school and community what being outstanding citizens really means.
This is a class I will never forget based on the many memories I have over their past four years. The creativity of their costumes and theme for their final Olympics were second to none. And the Senior Talent Show showcased many of the other talents that we often don’t see in the classroom.
After watching them that Friday night in February, I was both impressed and amazed by their confidence, ability and imagination. Their skills in acting, singing, dancing and performing were truly inspiring. Most importantly, the song they chose for their class —Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” — has been their theme. An anthem that helped carry them through these past few months of their final year at PMHS.
The graduates here today are an elite group of young men and women. They are among the very best in the areas of academics, athletics, the arts and service to the Pelham community. And speaking of service I want to acknowledge the six Class of 2020 students who have chosen to serve in our military forces. These six graduates are Lucas Fredbeck, Luke Gould, Daniel Tahbaz, Cassie Ventura, Benjamin Morfit and Madison Popovic. Let’s all acknowledge their commitment to our nation and our deepest thanks and respect.
Also in this class are accomplished athletes many of whom will be competing at college level in swimming, rowing, soccer and lacrosse to name just a few. Members of this class have also been honored with awards on National World Language Exams, Science Research, Forensics Speech, Journalism and in the Visual and Performing Arts along with countless other honors and recognition that they have received over the years.
As each graduate has grown and matured during their high school years, they have witnessed a great deal of turmoil and uncertainties in our state, our country and around the world. During the current pandemic several of them have had to assume family responsibilities due to illnesses of their parents, or took on jobs to help with the family finances, or helped younger brothers and sisters with their school work as their parents worked from home. And some have witnessed and perhaps participated in a national and international movement for full justice for our fellow citizens.
Members of this class have persevered when it was necessary to help and support their families, as well as help one another. They have accepted and overcome the many challenges, responsibilities, disruptions, and disappointments these last few months that have affected this class, and all of us.
As a Class, you have proven beyond a doubt that you truly care about each other. I have rarely seen the level of caring and the strength of the bonds you have formed with each other. The kind of bonds I predict will last a lifetime. As each of you look back on your four years in high school, I hope you realize that the fun and friendship, joys and sorrows, troubles and accomplishments have helped prepare you for what awaits you next in a changing and challenging world.
For this class, graduation is neither an end nor a beginning. It is merely a pause in what will be a lifetime of adventure, achievement, self-discovery and success. As you enter the next phase of your lives remember to work hard, take pride in who you are, what you do, and be guided by the morals and ethics that you have learned from your teachers, coaches and parents. I know that you will make a difference in the world and you will make us all proud.
In closing, I’d like to reiterate the advice that President Barack Obama offered in his speech last month to the Class of 2020. “Whether you realize it or not,” he said, “you’ve got more road maps, more role models, and more resources ... You’ve got more tools, technology and talents ... No generation has been better positioned ... to remake the world.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2020, I wish you all the best in everything you do, and everywhere you go.