Published: 6/19/2022 7:09:27 PM
Modified: 6/19/2022 7:08:13 PM
When James Rand was attending Kearsarge Regional Middle School, he wrote a speech describing the surrounding community. It took a lot of trial and error, but the then 12-year-old finally came up with something that seemed to work. The only issue is Rand did not believe any of it.
“Being part of a group that accepts you, supports you and cares about you is the baseline for any school environment. When I wrote that speech, it was because I did not feel any of those things. “Middle school was when I came out as part of the LGBTQ + community, and although Kearsarge has grown to be incredibly accommodating, people’s reactions to my identity made my middle school and early high school experiences a bit muddled,” Rand said. “I know that speech was not the reason that things changed, but there was a change. I went from feeling so unbelievably alone to feeling like I fit in, despite my differences. I ended up getting the depth of the community I desperately wanted. I ended up feeling like I belonged. ”
That welcoming community gathered at the football field Saturday afternoon to celebrate the 104 members of Kearsarge Regional High School’s class of 2022. Under windy conditions that sent almost every cap flying through the air, students and faculty alike reminisced on the last four years and looked on to the ones ahead.
“Now, we have reached graduation, and the time for hiding pillows under the covers to trick the inevitable wake up call into believing we are still asleep is over. The world is waiting for us, and if we’re to truly enjoy it we must set an alarm clock of our own. ” said student speaker Katie Nowicki, who will soon study political science at American University. “Because our class should not and will not be content to sleep in and let the world pass us by. Our class, the class of 2022, is the class that will wake up to get out there and change the world. ”
Principal Charles Langille Jr., in his second year at Kearsarge, brought the class to the front of the stage so he could speak to them directly during his address. He highlighted many of this year’s events, including senior sunrise, short lived one-way hallways, ominous “bathroom issues” and the school’s spring carnival.
“Normally the speaker does not have the back to the audience, but you are my audience right now. I want to thank you. Challenging me with all the ideas that you came up with, all the questions, ”he said. “How sometimes ‘no’ was definitely not an answer. You needed a reason, and I appreciated that. I appreciated that challenge from each and every one of you and we moved forward because of it. ”
Class president Estelle Chmura, a member of Kearsarge’s infamous 2020 Italy trip, reflected on her time in the school district as she prepares to move west to attend University of California Irvine.
“I’d like to end this speech with a quote from James Taylor. He said ‘the secret to life is to enjoy the passage of time.’ If you were to tell me that quote my freshman year, I probably would’ve said it was stupid, philosophical baloney. But now, reminiscing on our last ‘team on threes’ on the swamp, walking with friends for the last time in the hallway and walking one last time into those front and side doors, I understand it now, ”the future Anteater said. “Whether high school was a positive or negative experience for you, cherish this one moment as you sit in your seats, and remember the feeling of your cap on your head. Appreciate the good memories that were made, and thank your peers and teachers for these last four years. ”