Smith Academy fetes 26 grads at 145th commencement

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  • Victoria Rogers picks up her diploma prior to having her photograph taken during Smith Academy's 145th graduation exercises held in the Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Members of the Smith Academy class of 2021 pop confetti canons at the conclusion of the school's 145th graduation exercises held in the Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Smith Academy class of 2021 rises for the National Anthem to begin the school's 145th graduation exercises held in the Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy class of 2021 president Emma Kelly welcomes everyone to the school's 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy class of 2021 third honors Ainsley LaFlamme speaks at the school's 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy salutatorian Wyatt Delaney-Lefevre speaks at the school’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy salutatorian Wyatt Delaney-Lefevre, at podium, speaks at the school’s 145th graduation exercises in Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy valedictorian Claire Bennett speaks at the school’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy history teacher John Garrett delivers the commencement address at the school’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy Principal Christopher Buckland announces the awards and scholarships of the 26 members of the class of 2021 at the school’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Wyatt Delaney-Lefebvre and classmates sign yearbooks outside the band room before the start of Smith Academy’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Victoria Rogers, left, and Kensington Young sign yearbooks before the start of Smith Academy’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Smith Academy history teacher John Garrett makes final notes on his commencement address in the hall of champions before the school’s 145th graduation exercises on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 6/6/2021 12:00:14 PM

HATFIELD — Claire Bennett, valedictorian of Smith Academy’s class of 2021, calls the school a “little single-story building with orange and green carpets.” Over the past six years, she says, it has also become a home. 

“I know you well enough to know that you deserve success, and more important than success is happiness. You will find that,” Bennett said to her peers during her speech at the Academy’s 145th commencement ceremony on Friday night. “So take a deep breath. Here's to bright features, tired cliches, small-town patriotism and wordy displays of gratitude.”

The graduation ceremony honored 26 students who all received diplomas and collectively earned 57 awards and scholarships. It took place in Smith Academy’s Sherry A. Webb Gymnasium, which was decorated in the school’s classic purple and filled with pre-registered family and friends. Social distancing measures were observed and masks were required during the indoor ceremony. 

Student speakers dominated the event, each sharing personal stories about the friends and passions they found at Smith Academy. Emma Kelly, the president of the class of 2021, formally introduced the ceremony and urged her graduating classmates to be fair and resilient in the next stages of their life. 

“In a world full of discord, we all need to accept each other for their strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, accept our own,” Kelly said.

A member of National Honor Society and recipient of Pro Merito status from Smith Academy, she received numerous awards and scholarships, including the Adolph & Anna Kaiser Memorial Scholarship Award for excellence in chemistry and the Louis Gaudette French Award. 

Wyatt Delaney-Lefebvre, the class salutatorian, agreed with Bennett’s assertion that Smith Academy is more of a home than a school. After transferring schools four times, Delaney-Lefebvre told his classmates on Friday that he never expected to fit in until he enrolled at Smith. 

“Here at Smith Academy, we are so close to our teachers, we can smell the burnt coffee on their breath as they remind us the deadline is quickly approaching for an assignment,” he laughed. “I have never felt like just another face in the crowd in all my time here.”

Delaney-Lefebvre was recognized for his National Honor Society membership and Pro Merito status. He also earned five awards and scholarships from the school’s board of trustees, including the Sophie Mokrzecki Award for Academic Excellence and the Beverly J. Paye Memorial Award. 

Each graduating Smith Academy class traditionally gives a gift to the school at their commencement ceremony, and this year was no different. Ainsley LaFlemme, vice president of the class, said, “We chose to take it in a bit of a different direction this year,” at the beginning of her presentation of the gift. 

The class of 2021 created a “collective mural” under the direction of graduating student Greta Cooper this year. The painting, which was displayed along one of the walls of the gym during the ceremony, depicts a small group of students under a massive sun with rolling hills and trees on either side. Cooper said that the mural was meant to capture a piece of each student from the class of 2021, and thanked peers for their contributions throughout the year. 

John Garrett, a U.S. history teacher at the Academy, delivered this year’s commencement address following the student speeches. Given the small size of the class, Garrett chose to personally address each graduate, offering advice and encouragement for their next steps. 

“Abby, I hope you find yourself in a campus newsroom as an editor,” he said to Abigail Scheer, who was awarded the Class of 1977 Scholarship Award. 

“Lucas, I hope you continue to get to spend a good deal of time with your family,” Garrett said to graduate Lucas Donohue. “There may be a point where you're all not in the same town at the same schools, so I hope that doesn't make it less common.”

Donohue also received several awards and scholarships, including The Gaudette Family Athletic Award and the Jerusalem Masonic Lodge Scholarship. 

Christopher Buckland, the Academy’s principal, announced the graduate’s names and the awards they earned as Hatfield School Committee Chairwoman Jillian Robinson and Superintendent Martin McEnvoy presented diplomas. After each student crossed the stage, they returned to the gym’s bleachers.

Behind the new graduates, a large purple banner hung proudly, painted with the class’s chosen motto. Grad caps and tassels soared through the air in front of William Shakespeare’s words: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

A special section with more graduation news about the Smith Academy class of 2021 will be published in the Gazette July 3.  




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