Gateway graduates embrace close-knit class

  • New Gateway Regional High School graduate Preston Harrington Coffey shows off his diploma. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU 

  •  Newly minted Gateway Regional High School Graduate Richie Doolittle poses for the camera. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU 

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2022 9:17:04 PM
Modified: 6/3/2022 9:15:05 PM

HUNTINGTON — The small size and close-knit nature of the 44-member Class of 2022 at Gateway Regional High School was highlighted at its graduation on Friday.

“Some might say that going to a small high school limits students’ connections and overall experience,” salutatorian Nicole Hannigan said during her remarks at the school’s 59th commencement held outside on the school grounds. “However my experience at Gateway has taught me and my classmates quite the opposite.”

Hannigan said that small class sizes make it easy to make connections and get individual help.

“My best friendships are due to the small school atmosphere here at Gateway,” Hannigan said.

Another advantage she pointed to was that nearly the entire class could be fit into one Snapchat group chat.

Hannigan also expressed the belief that the small class size and strong bonds of the class will allow their connections to be maintained post-graduation.

Valedictorian Chloe Govoni said that her fellow classmates should feel proud of “making it this far.”

“You are the culmination of all the lives that have touched upon you,” she said.

She also said that her classmates should use the COVID-19 pandemic as “a lesson and a tribute to just how fast things can change.”

“Nothing can be taken for granted,” she said.

Class Vice-President Stephanie Paiva, meanwhile, noted that she and her fellow classmates are about to start over, likening it to their feelings when starting kindergarten.

“Don’t stop chasing your dreams,” Paiva said.

Cheryl Wright, a longtime math teacher at Gateway, was the guest speaker for the event. “I’m grateful to have the chance to address such an exceptional group,” Wright said.

Wright said that it was once said about her generation, Generation X, that they would identify the world’s problems and those that followed would find ways to solve them.

“You have consistently found these solutions and you’ve done it with skill, grace and kindness,” Wright said. “Now the rest of the world will get to see what we already know: Gateway’s Class of 2022 is truly exceptional.”

Wright also urged the members of the class to “follow your heart” and “don’t chase other people’s dreams.”

“Figure out what matters to you and make choices that will lead you in that direction,” she said.

Preston Harrington Coffey said that graduating “feels awesome.” He plans on going to Westfield State University and studying marketing.

Another graduate, Elise Fitzgerald, said that her favorite thing about Gateway was the people.

“Everybody’s so welcoming and nice,” she said.

She plans to study early education at Holyoke Community College.

Asked about graduating, Richie Doolittle said that they were happy to have “one last moment with the people who were nice to me.”

Doolittle plans on going to the UMass Boston to study art and animation.

Aiden Mann is also planning to attend UMass Boston, where he hopes to study political science and international relations. “I am glad that it’s over. Glad that I made it through high school,” he said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at
Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Daily Hampshire Gazette Valley Advocate


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy