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Pembroke grads told 'fight for what matters'

By Barbara Taormina
Union Leader Correspondent

June 15. 2014 8:54PM
Family and friends pack the gym at Pembroke Academy Saturday morning to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2014. (Barbara Taormina/Union Leader Correspondent)

PEMBROKE — Every seat in Pembroke Academy’s gym was filled Saturday morning with family members and friends who came to cheer on the Class of 2014 during its graduation ceremony.

“We made it!” class president Jordan Evans called out to his fellow graduates.

Evans continued on with a speech that was filled with names and memories from the past four years. And unlike other graduation speakers, he didn’t worry anyone with the idea that challenges might lie ahead. Evans shared his confidence that Pembroke’s graduating class was ready to move on.

“The skills and talents leaving Pembroke Academy will be unleashed on the rest of the world,” he said. “There would be fewer problems in the world if we 217 were in charge.”

Salutatorian Madeleine Stewart unpacked a violin before heading to the podium for her speech.

“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing,” she told her classmates.

Stewart described her years at Pembroke as a musician’s experience. Several times during her speech, she stopped talking to play.“As I leaned to play the fiddle, I learned how to learn,” she said explaining how she acquired different skills such as listening to others and performing.

She ended with enough perfect notes to win a standing ovation from her classmates.

Valedictorian Nicole Pearl told the crowd that Pembroke teachers and administrators said she could talk about anything she wished during her speech.

“Big mistake,” laughed Pearl, a huge Harry Potter fan who went on to compare different aspects of Pembroke Academy to details in the popular series of books by J.K. Rowling.

Pearl also shared her thoughts about what she feels is ahead for the Class of 2014.

“To tell you the next four years will be easier, well that’s a lie,” she said.

“Hard work is the price you have to pay for success.”

Pearl also stressed that as they move on to the next stage in their lives, graduates need to always remain true to themselves.

“Always fight for what matters to you, even if you fall short,” she said.

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