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Song, hugs and tears  Hartsbrook holds 8th graduation

  • Jacqueline Ritchie-Dunham laughs with other graduating students from Hartsbrook School during their graduation ceremony in Hadley on June 8, 2013. While handing out dipolmas, the faculty member handing out the dipolma read a short tribute for each graduating student. <br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    Jacqueline Ritchie-Dunham laughs with other graduating students from Hartsbrook School during their graduation ceremony in Hadley on June 8, 2013. While handing out dipolmas, the faculty member handing out the dipolma read a short tribute for each graduating student.
    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • High School Pedagogical Chair of Hartsbrook School, Virginia McWilliam, hugs graduating student, Jacob Garfinkel, during the school's graduation ceremony held on June 8, 2013 at the school in Hadley. The graduating class had 14 students. <br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    High School Pedagogical Chair of Hartsbrook School, Virginia McWilliam, hugs graduating student, Jacob Garfinkel, during the school's graduation ceremony held on June 8, 2013 at the school in Hadley. The graduating class had 14 students.
    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Members of the Hartsbrook School graduating class of 2013 hug around fellow graduate Madeline DeWolf after her performance of "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz at their graduation ceremony June 8, 2013. There are 14 members of the Hartsbrook Class of 2013.<br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

    Members of the Hartsbrook School graduating class of 2013 hug around fellow graduate Madeline DeWolf after her performance of "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz at their graduation ceremony June 8, 2013. There are 14 members of the Hartsbrook Class of 2013.
    AYRIKA WHITNEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jacqueline Ritchie-Dunham laughs with other graduating students from Hartsbrook School during their graduation ceremony in Hadley on June 8, 2013. While handing out dipolmas, the faculty member handing out the dipolma read a short tribute for each graduating student. <br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY
  • High School Pedagogical Chair of Hartsbrook School, Virginia McWilliam, hugs graduating student, Jacob Garfinkel, during the school's graduation ceremony held on June 8, 2013 at the school in Hadley. The graduating class had 14 students. <br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY
  • Members of the Hartsbrook School graduating class of 2013 hug around fellow graduate Madeline DeWolf after her performance of "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz at their graduation ceremony June 8, 2013. There are 14 members of the Hartsbrook Class of 2013.<br/>AYRIKA WHITNEY

“Find a capacity to know the unknown,” speaker John McManus told the graduates. McManus is an associate professor of speech and drama at Point Park University, and has taught the class of 2013 at several points in the past.

“Talent doesn’t last. It fades. By midlife it is probably gone. But you can find something that turns that spark of imagination into a flame,” he said. McManus spoke about the nature of time and the importance of imagination.

“Be able to ask the right questions,” he urged the class. “Questions stimulate imagination.”

Speakers, faculty, and administrators defined the class of 2013 as one made up of 14 distinct individuals. Humanities and drama teacher Tony Cape said that he could not help but imagine the class as a “Hong Kong building site — a skyscraper under construction.”

Each student represented a different aspect of the building. Cape saw students Sean Tousey-Pfarrer and Oliver Smith as the media center of the building, noting their accomplishments in writing. Kelsey Murphy was a big neon sign on the side of the building.

Before being given their diplomas, the students listened to a description written by the staff describing each one’s personality and passions. One student completed a senior project in auto mechanics, while another student was noted for her infamous guerilla filmmaking techniques. Along with their diplomas, each student received a flower and a line of hugs.

Despite each student being defined by unique interests and accomplishments, student speaker Jacob Garfinkel told his classmates that he viewed them a bit differently. “ We are a cohesive and caring group, we are an eclectic group that somehow creates a beautiful whole,” he said.

“We are creators, we are doers, we are visionaries, we are thinkers.”

Garfinkel also spoke to the parents in the audience. “Be assured we are capable young adults who will be successful in our pursuits,” he said. “Be proud of the new generation you have helped to create.”

High School Pedagogical Chair Virginia McWilliam said that the class of 2013 had five students who had been at Hartsbrook since kindergarten, and that the class has been defined by a welcoming culture as it lost and gained new members. She said that the day was one of mixed emotions for those at the school.

“It is a sad moment, but also a glorious moment to let them go when they are ready, and they are ready.”

Father Neal Parks, who watched his son Dunan Herman-Parks graduate, noted that his son belonged to a class of “very strong and confident young people. They have been respected and know how to give respect back.”

The graduating class was sent off by noting the numerous and diverse places where they will pursue their new goals. They will branch out to places varying from a school in Indiana to nearby Hampshire College to gap years in foreign countries to performing arts careers in New York City.

No matter what direction they choose to go in, graduate Meaghan Horak said she expects her class will achieve great successes. “It sounds corny, but I think we will change something. Hopefully, we will make the world better.”

Hartsbrook graduates

Vincent DeFelice: Union College; Madeline DeWolf: Greenfield Community College; Meghan Drisko: Marlboro College; Jacob Garfinkel: Bryant University; Dunan Herman Parks: Will be moving to NYC to find work in the arts; Meaghan Horak: Massachusetts College of Art & Design; Kelsey Murphy: Mount Holyoke College; Elena Nietupski: University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Jackie Ritchie Dunham: Smith College; Robin Roblee Strauss: Focus on work and travel in Europe; Oliver Smith: Earlham College; Samuel Stein: Hampshire College; Sean Tousey Pfarrer: Holyoke Community College; Miles Wilhems-Tricarico: University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

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