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Mary Madison waves to her family during the Londonderry High School graduation held at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

'Such grand celebration' as Londonderry graduates 398

MANCHESTER — The veil of uncertainty, while it can be nerve-racking, makes success all the sweeter, Ethan Doherty, the class president and valedictorian, told his fellow members of the 2013 class of Londonderry High School at Friday night's commencement at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

"Those challenging, uncertain days that you have ventured through is why today is worthy of such grand celebration," Doherty said.

Breaking the stereotype that popularity is an opposite of academic achievement, Doherty is the first graduate in the history of the school to have served as class president and been named valedictorian.

"The days of failure or shortcoming make the days you do succeed that much more enjoyable," he said. "So do not fear those moments of trial, because they only serve as vehicles to success and joy."

But any uncertainty over the future was overshadowed by

Levi Pearce and Jake Bauwels, who have respectively enlisted in the Army and Marine Corps, each said they were feeling good before receiving their diplomas.

"I'm feeling great. It's good to be here," said Pearce, who said he is following in the footsteps of several family members who'd served in the Army.

"I'm pretty pumped," Bauwels said.

Principal Jason Parent said he didn't believe that the class theme, which revolved around being lucky, was not apropos for the 398 graduates.

"I would say that doesn't fit" the class, Parent said. "You created your own luck through hard work, acts of caring and wanting to make a difference and by being good people."

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