Gateway Regional: ‘Be kind, treat people properly’

  • Madyson LaBrecque, 18, left, and Emily Wilkinson, 17,  right, helped each other decorate  their mortarboards before the Gateway Regional High School commencement in Huntington on Friday. FRAN RYAN

  • Lilly Waters and Thomas Hyjek lead the graduating seniors as they march to Booster Field on Friday at the 55th commencement of Gateway Regional High School in Huntington. FRAN RYAN

  • Lindsae Loomis, of Chester, marches on to Booster Field with her classmates at the Gateway Regional High School commencement on Friday evening. Loomis plans to study biology and pre-med at Keene State College in N.H. FRAN RYAN

For the Gazette
Friday, June 01, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Despite the threat of rain Friday evening, the 55th commencement of Gateway Regional High School remained dry, except for the tears of joy that were shed as parents and friends watched the 41 graduating seniors receive their diplomas on Booster Field.

Anthony Sabonis, the assistant principal at Gateway Regional from 2013 to 2017, delivered the commencement speech, in which he offered graduates three bits of advice.

“Travel,” he said “Go out and see the region, the country and beyond.”

Sabonis said that only good things come of getting to see the rest of the world, adding that travel will “build character, knowledge and sensibilities.”

He also appealed to each graduate to “be a good person.”

“Be kind, treat people properly, make choices with not only yourself, but others, in mind,” he said. “Be honest with others and most importantly be honest with yourself.”

Finally, he emphasized the importance of spending time in thought.

“I don’t think that enough people devote a portion of their day to reflection,” Sabonis said. “As young people, you have the opportunity to develop that habit.”

Valedictorian Joseph Coon told his classmates to remember the significance of the important people in their lives, and to use that support from others to help “make us better people.”

“I think the general solution is to go into the world, and do what you love to do,” Coon said. “Find meaning in the work, create value, develop yourself, don’t stop learning and meet new people.”

Salutatorian Jessica Van Heynigen said the class of 2018 has accomplished writers, musicians and athletes. “High School is now in the past, but the future is at our fingertips,” she said.

Quoting President John F. Kennedy, Van Heynigen said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Lindsae Loomis, 18, of Chester is a member of the National Honor Society. She said that she has enjoyed her time at Gateway Regional since she was in the fourth grade. Now, she is looking forward to college.

“I am going to Keene State in New Hampshire to study biology and pre-med,” she said adding that she has always had a strong interest in science.

Madyson LaBrecque, 18, Emily Wilkinson, 17, and Nathaniel Bushor, 18, plan to attend Holyoke Community College.

“HCC is an affordable option and it is a great place to get started,” said Nathaniel’s mother, Marie Bushor. “I started there myself.”