‘This is where it all begins’: Smith Vocational graduates 109

  • Salutatorian and co-class president Emma Tobin, left, and her fellow class president Hadleigh Atwell celebrate their peers receiving diplomas Thursday during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s graduation ceremony in John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School graduates line up outside of John M. Greene Hall at Smith College prior to their graduation ceremony Thursday in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Salutatorian and co-class president Emma Tobin speaks May 31, 2018 during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School's graduation ceremony in John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Principal Joseph Bianca, right, welcomes Superintendent Andrew Linkenhoker to the podium May 31, 2018 during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School's graduation ceremony in John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Principal Joseph Bianca, left, presents graduate Serena Bodison with her diploma May 31, 2018 during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School's graduation ceremony in John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Principal Joseph Bianca, left, presents graduate and valedictorian Amanda Batura with her diploma during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s graduation ceremony. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Salutatorian and co-class president Emma Tobin, left, and her fellow class president Hadleigh Atwell instruct their peers on moving their tassels to the left side of their caps May 31, 2018 during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School's graduation ceremony in John M. Greene Hall at Smith College in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Principal Joseph Bianca, left, presents graduate Euri David Inirio Mateo with his diploma Thursday during Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s graduation. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

For the Gazette
Published: 5/31/2018 11:54:25 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A theme emerged from two student leaders who took to the podium at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School’s 2018 graduation ceremonies Thursday night — graduates were urged to seek out a nurturing support system as they take the next step in life.

So said Emma Tobin, the president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, and valedictorian Amanda Batura in their addresses to the 109 graduates at the school’s 110th graduation ceremony.

In her speech, Tobin urged her classmates to create a support system and to surround themselves with “people who inspire, motivate, and challenge you.” Tobin then expressed her thanks to friends and teachers at Smith Voc who had influenced her through the years.

The girls volleyball team captain also talked about how the graduates need to “confront the unavoidable future,” telling her classmates that “this is where it all begins: right here, right now.”

Tobin said that she is “anxious for the next step,” but acknowledged how she got to where she is.

“I couldn’t have done this without my parents,” said Tobin, who is going on to study nursing.

Batura spoke last, after a number of speeches by school officials and students, mostly addressing the challenges the graduates face in the future, and how to overcome those challenges.

She also touched on the importance of a support system, adding that graduation night was their parents’ night “as much as ours.” Batura also urged her classmates to be their own “authentic selves,” and that just by gaining a diploma, the graduates are “already headed in the right direction.”

Though it was hot inside John M. Greene Hall at Smith College, where the ceremony took place, spirits were high for the graduates and their friends and families.

Audience members held balloons and flowers, and sounded off air horns as Batura led the class in the tradition of moving the graduation cap tassels from the left side to the right, officially marking the Class of 2018’s graduation.

Principal Joseph Bianca told the graduates to “enjoy the moment” as you “only walk across this stage once.”

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” asked Bianca, adding that adults often find themselves in a loop, unable to break away from their comfort zones. Bianca urged the graduates to “seek out new experiences and viewpoints” to keep life new and interesting.

Graduate Hadleigh Atwell said that she will never forget her time at Smith Voc.

“I made bonds here that can never be broken,” said Atwell.

As the Class of 2018 completed the ceremony, tassels and all, the crowd roared in support of the graduates, who will go on to do all sorts of things.

Tobin had one things to say in conclusion: “We did it.”




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