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Graduate Maddie Carlson, who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer two years ago, thanked her fellow students, family and community for helping her get to Thursday's graduation day. (Melissa Proulx/Union Leader Correspondent)

Goffstown HS graduate encouraged to follow their passion, support each other


GOFFSTOWN — More than 300 Goffstown High School students celebrated their graduation Thursday night.

Graduating senior Elizabeth Cronin, who held the third highest academic standing in her class, encouraged her fellow graduates to break free from their pasts.

“We don’t have to be the person we always thought we were,” she said. “We don’t have to be the person we’ve told ourselves we have to be.”

Cronin told a story about stepping up to fill in a part during a rehearsal for “Les Miserables.” After the actor playing Enjolras didn’t show up for rehearsal, Cronin stepped in to sing that part rather than have the director fill in. She said the experience meant that for three hours she felt like she was someone else.

“There must have been something in my expression because the director didn’t stop me,” she said. “I was determined, I was unstoppable.”

Always the one who is quick to poke fun at herself, Cronin said this person who she became that day at rehearsal was her, just a new part that broke free.

Cronin was one of the more than 300 students who graduated on Thursday in the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College. For all, the day marked the end of their high school career and the beginning of the next chapter in their lives, whether that be at college, a vocational school, in the military or working full time.

“Graduates, know this,” said SAU 19 Superintendent Brian Balke. “You are loved, you are cared about, you will always have a home at Goffstown High School.”

Among those recognized was Maddie Carlson, who after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma — a rare type of bone cancer — in May 2015, has now been cancer free for the last 8 months.

The road to recovery has been full of challenges, Carlson said. She spent a year-and-a-half going through treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation and a surgery to replace half of her humerus bone and shoulder joint. But the support she’s gotten from her family, friends, community and classmates has been the silver lining through it all, she said.

“I am so thankful to live in a small town where people are so supportive of each other,” she said. “You help make the world a better place with it.”

Support like this is vital for ensuring success, especially once you discover what it is you are passionate about, said Valedictorian Katie Galletta.

“Once you find your passion, that one thing that fuels your soul, I think it is your duty to pursue it,” she said. “…(But) just because it’s your passion doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.”



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