School fellowship key as 220 Pembroke grads receive diplomas
During their four years at Pembroke Academy, members of the Class of 2013 became kinder, more confident and closer to one another.
That was the message delivered by several speakers when 220 graduating seniors donned white and green caps and gowns and received their high school diplomas on Saturday.
"We learned that no matter what we had been through or where we were going, we'd always have each other," Ginger Gates, class president, told fellow graduates. "This is the heart of our story. It's not all about our class' superior grades or artistic talents or athletic ability. It's about the distance we traveled to come together."
Gates thanked the faculty for helping the students become well-rounded individuals. They had grown to demonstrate passion, compassion, friendship and dedication during their high school careers, she said.
"You may not be as good as you could be," Gates said. "You may not be as good as perhaps you should be, but we are better than we used to be."
Salutatorian Emily Blain noted that graduation is an important milestone for teens and that the graduates are wondering what's ahead for them.
"It's vital in life to find something about which you are passionate, whether it's math, engineering, sports or art," said Blain. "Each and every one of us can find something that makes us enthusiastic. This enthusiasm has the potential to drive you to your goals."
Blain encouraged the graduates to not let fear of failure keep them from taking risks and trying new things. Everyone has the potential to make a difference in the world, she said.
In her valedictory address, Nicole Packard admitted that she didn't know one-fourth of the class. But she was sure all its members had grown as students and as individuals.
"For some, the changes have been significant," said Packard, who drew laughs when she said she had worked "her butt off" to become valedictorian. "Some have learned to work in groups and cooperate with people they may not like. Others have learned that they can do things they never thought possible."
The seniors' time at Pembroke Academy, she said, had been an "amazing journey," including winning the school's winter carnival.
"Filled with its ups and downs, we have spent our high school years laughing together and crying together. And I think it's safe to say that we've enjoyed four years together as a class," Packard added.
Headmaster Michael Reardon recognized several students who are entering the military, and he thanked all the students for their academic accomplishments, compassion for others and participation in sports, clubs, robotics competitions and music festivals.
"Thank you for your intensity, your talent and commitment — qualities that will serve to make all our lives richer and more rewarding in the future," Reardon said.