Hampshire Regional graduates a close-knit class with deep roots 

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  • Jacob Batchelder, center, and his Hampshire Regional High School classmates follow Principal Kristen Smidy’s direction to “lean in” as she tells a story during her greetings to the school’s graduation ceremony at John M. Greene Hall in Northampton on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sarah Constantine sings the National Anthem to open the Hampshire Regional High School graduation ceremony at John M. Greene Hall in Northampton on Friday, June 7, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sarah Constantine, left, and Nicole Tripp listen to applause after they sang "Home", from the musical "Wonderland", with the Hampshire Regional High School Chamber Singers during graduation ceremonies at John M. Greene Hall in Northampton on Friday, June 7, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional High School senior class secretary Nick Eline rejoices with Principal Kristen Smidy after receiving his diploma Friday in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sarah Constantine, left, and Nicole Tripp sing "Home", from the musical "Wonderland", with the Hampshire Regional High School Chamber Singers during graduation ceremonies at John M. Greene Hall in Northampton on Friday, June 7, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Audrey Bronson and Keegan Burrows, right, react as they hear the audience shout out during Principal Kristen Smidy’s greetings to the Hampshire Regional High School graduation ceremony at John M. Greene Hall. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional High School valedictorian Rebecca Buehler addresses the class of 2019 during graduation ceremonies. STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 6/8/2019 12:32:14 AM

NORTHAMPTON — As Hampshire Regional High School’s class president Jake Constantine sees it, each of the 89 members of his class is representative of an apple.

During his speech at the school’s commencement at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College on Friday evening, Constantine pulled an apple out from the podium. He cradled it, he listed the similarities between the fruit and his classmates, and then explained how it perfectly fits each graduate’s character.

“The branches and the trunk signify our growth,” said Constantine, referring to an apple tree. “The apple itself represents us, since each apple has its own story, just like you and me. And what is cool about an apple is that when you cut it in half and look inside, there is a star-shape inside. A star that represents the light in each and every one of you.”

Valedictorian Rebecca Buehler echoed a similar, earthly sentiment as Constantine. She remembered her first day at the school in seventh grade, a day when her science teacher brought the class outside to study a tree and its roots.

“Just as the height of a tree is reflective of its root system, the success and accomplishments of our class are a testament to our foundation of support and compassion,” Buehler said. “By strengthening our roots, we gave each other the encouragement and stability we needed to grow.”

From coaching youth sports to working at hospitals in Africa, the Class of 2019 has impacted the world in various ways. Some students already work as first responders, and one student even owns his own business in Northampton.   

“I am so proud that we have managed to keep our roots deep, while reaching ever-higher,” Buehler said.

Principal Kristen Smidy explained how although people often misrepresent high school as an effortless experience, the work that the graduating students did during their time at Hampshire Regional should not be underplayed. Sitting in class for eight hours every day while being tested on subjects ranging from physics to Spanish is far from easy, she said, emphasizing that she could not be prouder of those sitting in front of her.

Hampshire Regional’s pride was especially evident when Smidy called on the crowd to recognize the students’ many achievements and to congratulate them on completing four strenuous years.

“When I count to three, yell out their names to represent how proud you are of them for finding their voice and navigating through the real world up until this point,” Smidy said. “One, two, three!”

The crowd erupted in screams as smiles illuminated the faces of the graduates. Each student held an envelope containing a handwritten letter from Constantine, their class president, proof that the small class will remain close-knit for years to come.

“Each one highlights your personal character, your actions and your growth,” Constantine said. “It is truly an honor to be your classmate and your president. I hope you guys read and cherish these letters throughout your lifetime, and whenever you need a pick-me-up, I hope your letter finds you.”




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