‘We pushed through’: Hampshire Regional grads celebrate 50 years of tradition at commencement

  • Hampshire Regional High School Class of 2022 graduate Nora Giannetti poses with her diploma Friday during commencement ceremonies at the high school’s Dorunda Field in Westhampton. PHOTO BY SABATO VISCONTI

  • Hampshire Regional High School Class of 2022 Valedictorian Nora Mulvehill, Salutatorian madeleine Manganelli, Class President Suzannah Buehler, Class Vice President William Delgado, Class Secretary Sarah Unger, and Class Treasurer Benjamin MacFadzen stand on the stage during commencement ceremony procession Friday evening on Dorunda Field in Westhampton. PHOTO BY SABATO VISCONTI

  • Hampshire Regional High School Class of 2022 Graduate Kylie Clegget celebrates her diploma Friday during commencement ceremonies at the high school’s soccer field in Westhampton. PHOTO BY SABATO VISCONTI

  • Hampshire Regional High School Class of 2022 Graduates proceed around the outside of the school Friday evening before walking through Dorunda Field to kick off the school’s 50th annual commencement ceremonies in Westhampton. PHOTO BY SABATO VISCONTI

For the Gazette
Published: 6/4/2022 10:44:08 AM
Modified: 6/4/2022 10:41:57 AM

WESTHAMPTON — Fifty years of tradition and community were on full display at Hampshire Regional High School’s graduation ceremony Friday night, as members of the first graduating class of 1972 joined family, friends, students, and staff in celebrating the class of 2022.

Dressed in red graduation robes, and sporting smiles of pride and accomplishment, the 134 graduates marched on to Dorunda Field to the traditional sound of Pomp and Circumstance. As they arrived, they were met with loud cheers and applause.

Principal Lauren Hotz noted that Hampshire Regional has a history of strong support from graduates, many of whom are now teachers at the school, while others have children and grandchildren who have also been students there.

In recognition of the 50-year milestone, Chiqui Netto, Class President of 1972, offered remarks regaling graduates with stories of what it was like to come up with the school colors, design the class ring, form the first clubs and sports teams, and select a school mascot.

Under the clear blue evening sky, class Valedictorian Nora Mulvehill encouraged her fellow graduates to hone their critical thinking skills, seek out new ideas, and view learning as a lifetime pursuit.

Mulvehill praised the teachers at Hampshire Regional saying that “educators are on the front line of democracy.”

“Democracy, public education and freedom of speech are under attack,” she said, imploring graduates not to be complacent or apathetic, but to use their education to fight for the preservation of these important rights and principles.

Mulvehill will attend Trinity College in Dublin this fall.

Class Salutatorian Madeleine Manganelli noted that the class of 2022 faced many challenges as they transitioned from remote learning due to COVID-19, back to the classroom environment.

“We pushed through, we did the work and we made it to graduation,” she said. “I am proud of how we came together as a community to support each other.”

Manganelli, who will be attending Vassar College in the fall, said that she hoped her fellow graduates would continue to build strong communities wherever they may go.

Lisa Florek and her husband Tim Florek both graduated from Hampshire Regional, and on Friday, they watched with pride as their daughter Gallivan Florek received her diploma.

“It’s bitter sweet,” Lisa Florek said. “I am so proud and happy for her, but at the same time I don’t want to see her go.”

Florek said her daughter will be attending the University of Rhode Island in the fall.

In her final send off to the class of 2022, Hotz told graduates: “Be true to yourself. Always choose kindness, and fight for equality and a more equitable society.”

Of the graduating class, 74 will attend a 4-year college, 42 a community college, 3 plan to join the military, and 10 will enter the workforce.

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