AHS Class of 2020 moves on to next chapter

  • Superintendent Darcy Fernandes addresses the Athol High School Class of 2020 during Friday’s graduation ceremony. Staff Photo/Greg Vine

  • Members of the Athol High School Class of 2020 listen to remarks from school Principal David King. Staff Photo/Greg Vine

  • Family and friends of Athol High School Class of 2020 gather on O’Brien Field for Friday’s graduation. Staff Photo/Greg Vine

  • Athol High School Class of 2020 valedictorian Grace Dufour speaks to her classmates during graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/Greg Vine

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 8/9/2020 8:40:13 PM
Modified: 8/9/2020 8:40:11 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL — The sun setting behind the trees surrounding O’Brien Field provided a fitting metaphor as members of the Athol High School Class of 2020 each walked to the podium to receive their diploma, awaiting the rising the sun that would mark the first day of their adult lives.

Friday evening’s graduation ceremony was held in comfortable temperatures under nearly cloudless skies. Family and friends, some in lawn chairs, a few settled on lawn blankets, occupied spaces on the athletic field that had been marked to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines. School district administrators, educators and staff were also on hand to witness the first class since 1918 to graduate in the midst of a global pandemic.

Yet, the circumstances surrounding the ceremony did nothing to detract from the celebratory nature of the event.

“I could not be any more proud, standing in front of you today as principal of Athol High School,” said Principal David King. “The fuel that keeps me going every day is the passion I have for this community, this school and for the purpose of trying to make a positive impact on each student.

“With that said, my ultimate reward is not seeing you here today, graduating from Athol High School, but it will come years from now — maybe 10, maybe 20 years from now — when I get to hear about all the great things you have done with your lives.”

King urged the soon-to-be graduates to persevere in times of conflict and failure.

“Failure does not need to define you,” he said. “The best insight I could give you is to learn from your failures and mistakes. None of us is perfect, and I would not want to be a perfect person.”

King also stressed that life “is not all about you.

“Instead, it’s about what you can do for other people. That will be your greatest asset. Do not get me wrong; you must take care of yourself, but there is so much you can do for other people that will provide you the greatest rewards in life.”

Class of 2020 Valedictorian Grace Dufour told her classmates, “We must all go out and face the world while we are still full of energy. Nothing is given to you. Do the things you want do now, even if you fail. Failure is temporary, but regret is forever.”

Superintendent Darcy Fernandes said much has changed in the past six months, requiring everyone to make sacrifices and changes.

“What has happened to us, and what will happen to us in the future,” she said, “is about choice. We can choose to see things as a barrier or imagine something more hopeful. I choose the latter. Over the last six months, I have realized that this crisis has made me a better person.

“As we move forward in life, I hope we will look at life as a choice — a choice to see it more positively. We can see the COVID-19 crisis as a detriment to living life, or finding new ways to do things.

“We can be the one who sees bigotry in the world and thinks we can’t do anything about it,” she continued, “or become the person who stands up against it, similar to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, or Mother Theresa.

“Life is full of choices, and my hope for you is that you will imagine the beauty in it and choose to live life to the fullest with integrity and spirit. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”

Athol High School Class of 2020

*Zackery Brian Aldrich, Sadie Lynn Anderson, Angelica Baptista, Scott Daniel Barakat, Issach Thomas Bastine, Haley Lynn Bigwood, Nicholas Allen Bousquet, Cody Nathaniel Bridgwood, Aaron Kent Burns, Alexis Jencelle Carrasquillo, Dominic Joseph Cassarino, Alexia Jean Clapper, Taylor Sierra Cleveland, Matthew Dean Coffin, Isabella C. N. Cooke, Larianna Bernadette Coston, Gabrielle Beverly Cox, Christopher Thomas Day, *Parker James Deleo, Brymere S. Dickerson-Edwards, Alexander Roy Downing, Riley Jade Downs, *Grace Evelyn Dufour, Derek Antonio Erali, Mark Anthony Ferrari, Damian Matthew Fields, Alexis Cecile Frechette, *William Andrew Freeman, Diego Allen Garcia, Kayla Lynne Gordon, Deven Marie Grover, Kolby Deane Guilmette, Alan Dalton Hatch, Dennis Richard Humphrey, Joslyn Helmi Jaillet, Bryce David King, Logan Paul Kirwan, Colby-Marie Ann Koutrakos, Jaycob Matthew Lamarche, Christopher Frank Lashua, Carly Renee Tess LeBlanc, *Aryah Lenore Lee, *Keely Denise Leeman, Cierra Lee Lichtenberger, Olivia Kati Luchock, *Anthony Eliggio Marcucci, Krystal Ann McCulley, Michael Charles McGuirk, Samantha Rose Moriarty, Jaden Kaleb Morin, Shannyn Elizabeth Moulton, *Kayden Aliyah Mousseau, Dawson James Mundell, Alexander Daniel Navarijo, Riley Austin Paine, Heather Lynn Pilling, Sophie Joan Putnam, Taylor Marie Rediker, Jack Allan Robinson Jr, Sandie Rose Ross, Shyanne Crystal Rouisse, Savannah Lynne Santana, Elizabeth Hannah Seamans, Matthew David Shepardson, *Colby Ryan Soltysik, Samuel Alexander Soucie, *Jenna Lynn St. Cyr, Matthew E. M. Stevens, Magdalena Surlej, Maysin Darius Tarbell, Autumn Mekaela Therrien, Joshua David Thompson, Kali Lee Tracy, Brady Alson Underwood, Maryssah Mae Valcourt, Lexy Jane Wapner, Matthew John Willhite, Logan Alexander Wing, Haley Star Wrigley

*Denotes National Honor Society

Scholarship Awards for Athol High School Class of 2020

Athol High School Theater Scholarship – Anthony Marcucci

Jason Trombley Memorial Scholarship – Zachary Aldrich

Mike Bridgwood Memorial Scholarship – Cody Bridgwood and Matthew Willhite

Athol Boosters Scholarship - Zachary Aldrich, Angelica Baptista, Nicholas Bousquet, Taylor Cleveland, Parker Deleo, Grace Dufour, Mark Ferarri, Bryce King, Aryah Lee, Anthony Marcucci, Sophie Putnum, Colby Soltysik, Jenna St. Cyr, Matthew Willhite

Athol-Royalston Athletic Association – Bryce King, Jenna St. Cyr

Royalston Academy Katherine Seymour Bullock Cole Scholarship – Matthew Willhite

Athol Teachers Association – Dennis st. Jean, Molly Divoll, Jeanne Grutchfield

Chet Hall Memorial Scholarship – Bryce King, Matthew Willhite

Athol Police Association Scholarship – Jenna St. Cyr

Athol Police NEPBA Local 59 Scholarship – Matthew Willhite

Athol Firefighters Association Scholarship – Colby Soltysik

Athol-Orange Rotary Club Scholarship – Aryah Lee, Anthony Marcucci

North Quabbin Chapter #340 Vietnam Veterans of America – Alexis Frechette

South Royalston School Reunion Association Scholarship – Alexis Frechette

Athol Women’s Club Scholarship - Kayden Mousseau

Athol Masonic Charity & Educational Society Scholarship – Jenna St. Cry

Government Service Scholarship – Parker Deleo, Jenna St. Cyr

Dr. Norman Gold man Scholarship – Parker Deleo

Kessler Investments Inc. Scholarship – Bryce King

A.H.S. Scholarship Association aids 33 graduates

The Athol High School Scholarship Association presented awards totaling $97,750.00 to 33 graduates of Athol High School. Scholarships were awarded to 17 members of the Class of 2020 and to 17 prior graduates who are currently attending college. All qualifying students who successfully completed the application process received an award.

Graduates Receiving the General Scholarship award and the Helen C. Ellsworth Award: Nicholas Bousquet, Taylor Cleveland, Gabrielle Cox, Parker Deleo, Grace Dufour, Mark Ferrari, Bryce King, Aryah Lee, Keely Leeman, Anthony Marcucci, Kayden Mousseau, Heather Pilling, Sophie Putnam, Savannah Santana, Colby Soltysik, Jenna St. Cyr, Matthew Willhite

AHSSA in the name of William G Lord: Angelica Baptista , Jack Robinson,

AHSSA in the name of Henry A Sterns Memorial: Kayden Mousseau

AHSSA in memory of Cathy Cole: Keely Leeman

AHSSA in the name of Webb R. Avery & Ethel S. Avery: Gabrielle Cox

AHSSA In the name of Edwin C. Temple Memorial Award: Heather Pilling

AHSSA Athol American Legion Post 102: Bryce King, Anthony Marcucci

AHSSA in the name of Lloyd J. Newton: Bryce King

AHSSA in the name of Gladys Crawford Webber: Grace Dufour

AHSSA in the name of Theodore H & Helen E. Berard: Savannah Santana

AHSSA in the name of Ashley Beth Softic: Taylor Cleveland

AHSSA in the name of Henry J & Clare E. Brouillet: Colby Soltysik

AHSSA in the name of Alan Plotkin: Kayden Mousseau

AHSSA in the name of Joseph R Songer: Keely Leeman

AHSSA in the name of Daniel Laakso: Savannah Santana

AHSSA in the name of Randall Kamerbeek: Anthony Marcucci

AHSSA in the name of Forrest & Bernice Blackmer: Jenna St Cyr

AHSSA in the name of Etienne Lozier: Jenna St Cyr

AHSSA in the name of John Linker: Shannyn Moulton

AHSSA in the name of Ann Williams: Matthew Willhite

AHSSA in the name of Morris E. Katz & Freda H. Katz: Grace Dufour

AHSSA in the name of Cathy Robuccio: Heather Pilling

AHSSA in the name of David Farrar: Parker Deleo

AHSSA in the name of Brian Rivers: Gabrielle Cox, Mark Ferrari

AHSSA In the name of Leo D. Chibas for Electrical Engineers: Anthony Marcucci

AHSSA in the name of Karen Raymond Dugay: Nicholas Bousquet

AHSSA in the name of Greg Stone: Anthony Marcucci

AHSSA in the name of Norman Desrosier: Aryah Lee

AHSSA Lithuanian Club Award: Sophie Putnam

AHSSA in the name of Cinny Hager: Heather Pilling

AHSSA in the of Dr Elizabeth Ervin: Alexis Frechette

AHSSA in Honor of Pauline Plotkin: Taylor Cleveland

Post-graduates: Haylie Baker, Justin Blake, Julia Carey, Molly Divoll, Ashlee Giansanto, James Laford, Hannah Lajoie, Abby Leadbetter, Lauren Mack, Shelby Mailloux, Hope Parker, Desmond Pottinger, Abigail Roberts, Jessica Soucie, Dennis St. Jean, Emily Vescovi

A.H.S. Scholarship Association Merit Scholarship Julia Carey, Molly Divoll, Desmond Pottinger and Dennis St. Jean


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