WEARE — The approximately 160 members of John Stark Regional High School’s Class of 2014, quite literally, went out with a bang Saturday morning.
In keeping with tradition, the Henniker and Weare students ended their commencement ceremony with the blast of a cannon and the official John Stark fight song.
While the morning was rainy, the skies momentarily cleared as graduates made their way uphill to a tent in the center of the football field.
This year’s graduates distinguished themselves not only academically, but in their strong sense of community, said principal Christopher Corkery.
“It’s not just a matter of filling the requirements,” Corkery told his students. “It’s about doing your best, doing the right thing and making a difference.”
The principal noted that about 70 percent of this year’s graduates are leaving high school with credits far exceeding the 22-credit core requirement.
“Maybe you tried something different, something that challenged you a bit,” Corkery said.
Salutatorian Justin Abbot challenged his classmates to rethink their idea of a perfect day, of a perfect life.“What if you woke up and it was all a dream?” he said. “But your thoughts have influence on the real world and the better your mind set the better your life will be.”
Valedictorian Josh Morin noted that the Class of 2014’s collective accomplishments weren’t limited to academics and athletics.
From hosting a blood drive to campaigning against capital punishment to honoring veterans on Memorial Day to promoting a climate of tolerance, John Stark students have kept on making a difference, Morin said.
“For me, the best part of high school was the sense of belonging to something bigger,” he said. “Leaving high school will be our toughest challenge … but with a firm eye on the future, we won’t forget where we came from.”
Serving as the ceremony’s keynote speaker was the Honorable Gerard T. Boyle. The justice of the Concord Circuit Court, who’d spent the previous day visiting with the soon-to-be graduates, reminded them to make positive choices in life and to take good care of one another.
“You become what you think about all the time,” Boyle told the graduates. “Because your thoughts become words.”