Don't miss out, Memorial grads told
Griffin Blais blows a kiss to her cousin during Memorial High's graduation. (JAY REITER/Union Leader)
The graduation ceremony was the first for high school Principal Arthur Adamakos since undergoing a sextuple heart bypass operation more than a year ago.
Adamakos freely admitted playing the guilt card to persuade a nervous Kaylee Oberlies to put aside her fear of public speaking and deliver the salutatory address to the Class of 2013.
"I said, 'Mr. A., I'm really not feeling it' ... and his response to me was, 'I nearly died last year. I came back from the dead to hear you speak.' So he guilted me into it," she said.
Oberlies said her conversations with Adamakos helped her realize that missing the opportunity to speak because she was nervous or afraid would mean missing an important part of her high school experience.
"And that's what I want to say to all of you today," Oberlies said. "We all came into Memorial as little freshmen who had no idea what to expect of high school, we didn't know who we were or who we would become or who we even wanted to be, and Memorial changed that."
Class president Andrew Provencher reminded classmates to remember always the bonds of their high school years.
"We will grow up to become doctors, mechanics, waiters, actors, sergeants in armed forces, and many other things," he said. "We will forever be Memorial Crusaders and members of the Class of 2013."
Valedictorian Jacob Pantazis exhorted classmates to retain their independence and keep goals "created and maintained entirely by you," he said.
During his remarks to the graduates, Mayor Ted Gatsas asked members of the class who are going to serve in the military to stand; about a half-dozen students rose and were given a prolonged ovation.
As the graduates prepared to enter a new phase of life, they took with them the words of Oberlies, their reluctant salutatorian.
"Don't worry too much about the future, and don't dwell too much on the past," she said. "Live in the present, and don't let anything pass you by because you weren't paying attention."
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