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Hopkins sets grads loose with confidence

  • Hopkins Academy graduate Jessica Smith, right, gets a hug from Anna McLane Friday. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy graduate Caleb Farnham wears a decorated cap for commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy graduates wait for the start of commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy graduates wait for the start of commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Greta Kurtz, right, helps Lauren Sieracki before commencement Friday at Hopkins Academy. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy graduate Sammy Felter waits for the start of commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Khristopher Olson and Lauren Sieracki, front, walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. Irvin Compass and Greta Kurtz are in the background. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Japan London Lee Roberson, left, and Kevin Alicea walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Oliver Rodgers, left, and William Hannum walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Josselyn Connor, left, and Sammy Felter walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Allison Jenks and Sam'i Roe walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lily Gido, left, and Jessica Smith walk in the processional during the Hopkins Academy commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy Class of 2017 Valedictorian Lily Gido speaks during commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Greta Kurtz, vice president of the graduating class, speaks during commencement Friday at the school. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy Principal Brian Beck speaks during commencement Friday at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lauren Sieracki receives an award during commencement Friday at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy Principal Brian Beck speaks during commencement Friday at the school. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Saturday, June 03, 2017

HADLEY — Hopkins Academy seniors marched into the colorful gymnasium clad in blue robes and carrying sunflowers to match the gold and blue banners — school colors — hanging on the walls for the institution’s 353rd graduation ceremony.

The gym was filled with faculty and families excited to watch the 45 students on stage graduate. Among the crowd was valedictorian Lily Gido’s family.

“We are here from Atlanta, Georgia. ... Lily’s the first grandchild that is graduating from high school as far as I am concerned; at least all the grandchildren I know of,” John Gido, Lily Gido’s grandfather, laughed. “I am proud and happy, and hoping for every success she may have.”

Addressing the crowd, Lily Gido spoke about the diverse interests of the graduates. She recounted the accomplishments and passions of different students, ranging from star athletes to a student who “became an internet sensation from their bedroom.”

Gido said the most important lesson she’d learned was about making decisions. “Maybe it is a cliché, but you know yourself best, and only you can make your decisions. The class of 2017 has always done that,” Gido said. The academy’s president, Brian Beck, also noted the diverse passions of the graduating class. He spoke of their varied accomplishments, including earning this year’s western Massachusetts championships in both golf and boys basketball.

“We will leave tonight with confidence that we will set loose a group of people that will make the world a better place,” Beck proclaimed.

About $26,000 in scholarships was awarded — $20,000 in yearly awards and $6,000 from the board of trustees in categories ranging from $500 scholarships to a $3,000 scholarship presented to graduating senior Paul Kosakowski.

Class advisor and teacher Daniel Vreeland was chosen to address the graduates. He recounted the important lessons students had instilled in him.

“They taught me to never underestimate anyone, especially yourself. They taught me to never take life too seriously, and that you too can be someone’s hero,” Vreeland said.

A distinguished alumni award was given to Ron Waskiewicz, a former Hopkins student athlete, police officer, and driver’s education instructor.

An Honorary Alumni Award was also given to alumna and former art teacher Marilyn Judah, who recently died. “Her spirit is a special one, no matter what you did you started your day with a clean slate,” said Sandy Kayamba, a Hopkins graduate.