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Bedford grads urged to learn from failure

By Darrell Halen
Special to the Union Leader

June 15. 2014 8:53PM
Gathered for a photo following their Bedford High School graduation ceremony: Colin Perras, Joshua Belz, Jimmy Heald, Christopher Plouffe, Jeremy Myers, Yanick Baribeau and Christopher Shaughnessy. (Darrell Halen)

BEDFORD — Everyone is afraid to fail but failure isn’t always bad.

That was one of the inspirational messages shared at Bedford High School’s graduation ceremony Saturday, when 294 seniors donning red and white caps and gowns received their diplomas.

“What is most important is how you react to (failure),” said Katrina Munoz, class vice president, noting that failure is something that is feared as the graduates decide what to do with the rest of the lives.

“We can either let it tear down our confidence or we can accept it and learn from it.”

Munoz, along with other speakers at the ceremony, noted that the graduates are prepared to face the future and make a difference.

“Our class has so much to give our communities and I know that the phenomenal education we have received can make positive change in the world,” she said.

At the beginning of the indoor ceremony – the event was held in the gymnasium due to the threat of rain – Principal William Hagen told the audience that teachers and staff had prepared the students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed and that they had met high academic standards to earn their diplomas.

Hagen, who began a four-year “journey” with the class after becoming principal, encouraged the seniors in the coming days to thank the people who helped them graduate.

“I applaud your perseverance, your determination, and your leadership,” said Hagen, who along with other speakers noted the school’s academic and athletic accomplishments, recounted special memories, and wished the graduates success in the years ahead. “As a class, you have demonstrated (that) over the past four years.”The school’s staff, Hagen said, is proud of the type of people the graduates have become.

He thanked the graduates for how well they conducted themselves, adding that their daily actions made a positive impact on the school’s culture.

“Every struggle can present an opportunity to grow. Remember that your life will be enriched by the lives that you touch. And remember – Bedford High School will always be your home. Once you’re a bulldog, you’re always a bulldog,” he added, referring to the team’s mascot.

Many of the seniors wore decorative caps featuring inspirational and celebratory expressions such as “Keep Moving Forward” and “We Did It!”

Along with the audience, they clapped along to the school band’s performance of the song, “Lean On Me,” laughed when senior Elliot Chun took a “selfie” photo of himself with teacher Brenda Hinz while receiving his diploma on stage, and gave a standing ovation to the four graduates who will be serving in the armed forces.

Kelly Woodmansee, the leadership award recipient, told the audience that the class has a special “BHS DNA” of collective experiences, successes and failures that enables the students to connect with each other.

“Today is the first day where we are allowed to follow our own path,” Woodmansee told her fellow graduates. “Each one of you has something unique to share, so go out and share it with all of your heart and show the world what it means to be a bulldog.”

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