Nashua South grads urged to embrace their futuresBy DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 17. 2018 9:37PM
MANCHESTER — More than 350 Nashua High School South students entered Southern New Hampshire University Arena as seniors on Sunday and left as graduates.
The 371 members of South’s Class of 2018 sat through the usual speeches from faculty and a few classmates before lining up and receiving their diplomas as thousands of relatives and friends looked on, cheering and snapping pictures of the milestone event.
The 1 p.m. ceremony at SNHU Arena was preceded by a 9 a.m. commencement for Nashua High School North’s Class of 2018.
Superintendent Jahmal Mosley wished both classes well in a letter, quoting the Dr. Seuss children’s classic “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
“I encourage you to create places to go and possibly stay,” Mosley wrote. “Create places where there will be fun. Create places that mirror and embody you and what you have learned and experienced.”
Nashua High School South valedictorian Anushka Ray praised her class as a group of “incredible scholars, talented musicians, creative artists, and great athletes, who will all be pursuing their unique and special goals.”
“Regardless of where the future takes us, we should continue to offer the nature of helping others that being a Panther has reinforced within us,” Ray said.
Dozens of the graduates’ caps were personalized with messages like “Thanks Mom” and the names of schools where they are headed.
Rubiel Ovalle, chosen to speak on behalf of South’s class, urged his classmates to embrace their futures wherever their next steps lead.
“I would like to challenge everyone sitting in front of me to be a better person than you imagine yourself to be. I want to see every single one of you be more open to every opportunity that smacks you across the face,” Ovalle said. “Explore the cultures and different people around you, be kind to everyone, and express every aspect of your life to people you love. Even if it’s uncomfortable at first.”
South Principal Keith Richard reminded the graduates to thank all who have helped them along the way, especially their families, as well as the teachers who helped them reach Sunday.
Richard vowed to remember the Class of 2018 as a “fun” one.
“You worked hard in the classroom and are reaping the benefits with the wonderful places you are headed after today,” Richard said. “You couldn’t have made the people here today any more proud.“
English teacher Sarah Paling, the faculty speaker, vowed not to give advice in her address, but did offer plenty of encouragement and reminded the graduates that commencement is a special time for teachers, too.
“We don’t get into teaching just because of the subject matter,” she said. “It’s about you — the students — who make our subject matter come to life. When you open books, open your minds, ask questions, listen, engage, when you say you want to study the same subject, when you show up and willingly become a part of what’s going on despite the many distractions in today’s world.”