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Granby seniors head ‘to graduation and beyond’

  • Newly minted graduates Kaylee Tudryn and Anthony Velez smile with relief as the presentation of diplomas draws to a close during commencement exercises at Granby Junior/Senior High School on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shianne DeSellier adjusts the tassel of Logan Fabricius's cap in the stairwell outside Granby Junior/Senior High School's Sullivan Gymnasium just before the class of 2018 entered for graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Relatives and friends of the Granby Junior/Senior High School class of 2018 photograph the students as they assemble on the risers in Sullivan Gymnasium for graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Drummer Anabel Evren smiles after performing the senior band song, "Fiero" by Steve Hodges, with the Granby Junior/Senior High School band during graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Drummer Anabel Evren smiles after performing the senior band song, "Fiero" by Steve Hodges, with the Granby Junior/Senior High School band during graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School senior class president Alexis Strycharz offers her welcome to everyone attending graduation exercises in the school's Sullivan Gymnasium on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Schools Superintendent Sheryl Stanton presents the Granby Junior/Senior High School class of 2018 qualified for graduation during commencement exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School principal Stephen Sullivan addresses graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018, his first since taking the reins as principal in 2017. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School valedictorian and senior class treasurer Hannah Parent smiles after receiving her diploma and a carnation during graduation exercises in Sullivan Gymnasium on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School graduate Shianne DeSellier shakes the hand of Carol Hepworth, Director of Pupil Services, as she receives her diploma during commencement exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. DeSellier, who received awards for excellence in both mathematics and fine arts, used the Greek letters iota, pi and delta to create the phrase "I inspire change" on her cap. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Shianne DeSellier, right, shakes hands with Granby Director of Pupil Services Carol Hepworth, center, and Superintendent Sheryl Stanton, left, after receiving her diploma during Granby Junior/Senior High School graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. DeSellier, who received awards for excellence in both mathematics and fine arts, used the Greek letters iota, pi and delta to create the phrase "I inspire change" on her cap. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Granby Junior/Senior High School seniors enter Sullivan Gymnasium for graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Isabelle Cruz laughs at something senior class president Alexis Strycharz said in her welcoming remarks at Granby Junior/Senior High School graduation exercises on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Newly minted graduates Kaylee Tudryn and Anthony Velez smile with relief as the presentation of diplomas draws to a close during commencement exercises at Granby Junior/Senior High School on Saturday morning, June 2, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



@mjtidwell781
Sunday, June 03, 2018

GRANBY — At Granby Junior Senior High School on Saturday morning, 58 students walked “to graduation and beyond” as their close-knit “Granby family” joined to send off the students who spent the last six years together readying for their next journeys.

The Granby Rams marched in a traditional slow walk, boys in blue and ladies in white, and the gathered friends and family joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. There was a moment of silence and two empty chairs saved among the graduates for Nick Cayo and Tim Nadeau, who would have graduated with the Class of 2018, but died young, Cayo in 2013 and Nadeau in 2010.

Principal Stephen Sullivan thanked the school’s educators for the challenges they “face and overcome daily.”

“Teachers rarely get the credit they deserve, but I know the students here appreciate you,” he said. “Nobody in this class has gotten here all on their own, and I encourage you to find that person who pushed you to persevere and thank them.”

The graduates carefully daubed away tears as Sullivan listed off things he will miss about each student — stories, accomplishments and humorous anecdotes of his first graduating class at Granby since he became the school’s principal in 2017.

“They will always be my first graduating class at Granby, the ones who welcomed me with open arms and open hearts to the wonderful family we have here,” Sullivan said. “You have all left a significant impression on me, on this school and on your peers.”

Then, it was the teachers’ turn to tear up as class valedictorian Hannah Parent listed off the “above and beyond” support from educators, family, friends, and the Granby community.

“I can think of hundreds of instances where GHS teachers did far more than their paycheck required,” Parent said. “We’re approaching one of the most important, and certainly the weirdest parts of our lives. If there’s one thing that sums up high school perfectly, it’s feeling confused about what you’re feeling.”

The commencement address was delivered by “the man voted most likely to take over the world,” history teacher Norman Racine.

“We are a Granby family,” Racine said. “We have laughed together, taken care of each other and learned together. Let’s be grateful for our time together.”

He challenged his Granby family to “experience the world without fear, without reservation,” and told the graduates that this next phase of their lives will be about who they are and what choices they make.

“Making it in the world is not always easy, it’s not always fun,” Racine said. “But every failure is an opportunity to learn something about yourself.”

About success, said class salutatorian Pierre Carriere, there are many different ways to be successful.

“We never really stop looking for success,” Carriere said. “That’s because success marks an achievement, not an end.”

School Superintendent Sheryl Stanton told the graduates to “be kind, seek the truth and be present,” in world that often shows divisiveness and hate, misinformation and disinformation and an obsession with social media.

Graduate Michelle Costa said she was “relieved” to be graduating and said she is ready to move on to Holyoke Community College next year.

“There’s been some good memories and some bad,” Costa said. “I will miss my friends and my teachers.”

Megan Shephard, who will also being going to HCC next year, said that nearly half the grade plans to go to the nearby community college, so they’re looking forward to staying close.

“I’m sad and I’m relieved and I’m scared about walking today, because I’m clumsy!” Shephard said.

Sullivan said that 87 percent of the graduating class plans to go on to post-secondary education, 9 percent have career plans and 4 percent are undecided.

Before the graduates accepted diplomas and turned tassels on mortarboard caps, Senior Class President Aleis Strycharz asked them to take a moment to think about everything that had led up to their graduation, to consider what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown from those memories, no matter how big or small.

“High School is not easy. There are no perfectly choreographed dance numbers in the cafeteria,” Strycharz said. “We’re here today because we got here together. Instead of saying goodbye, I’m going to say thank you.”

M.J. Tidwell can be reached at mjtidwell@gazettenet.com.