|Mount Everett Grads Reminded to 'Stay Gold'|
|By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff|
03:30PM / Saturday, June 04, 2022
|The school has not held a graduation ceremony at Tanglewood since the COVID-19 pandemic first began.|
LENOX, Mass. — Mount Everett Valedictorian Nadia Makuc instructed her classmates to be a person that their younger selves would be proud of at the high school's commencement.
"As we grow to be productive members of our communities, let us stay young in spirit. Stay fun, stay humble, stay silly. We have the rest of our lives for the world to challenge us, but in the meantime drink the Dr. Pepper, sign your name with a smiley face, wear the Pokémon converse – don't be afraid to keep piglet in your backpack," she said during the sunny morning ceremony at Tanglewood Saturday.
"Make your inner first-grade self happy. More importantly, make your inner first-grade self proud. The you from twelve years ago are proud that you are up here on this stage. Make sure that everything you do, everything you say they would also be proud of," she said.
Makuc's address to the 46 graduates under the Koussevitzky Music Shed was to the tune of the coming of age novel "The Outsiders" by S. E. Hinton. She said that the phrase "stay gold" greeted Mount Everett students every morning for the past few months and will continue to for years to come.
"Be the one who starts the conversation, pick up the litter, don't be afraid to say what you believe. Stay open-minded, stay vulnerable, stay curious," she said. "Above all, stay honest. If you stay in constant pursuit of the truth, then you will always remain gold."
Principal Jesse Carpenter said it was great to be back, as this marked the school's return to the venue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carpenter spoke of things that he said did not fully understand or have logical answers for, including social media app Tik Tok, COVID-19, and the "constant senseless violence" all around the country. Recent mass shootings in Chicago, Ill, Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas were referenced.
He said that one thing that still does make sense is the recipe for success: keep chopping wood.
"Sometimes life is hard, and we feel like giving up but you keep chopping wood and the tree will eventually fall," Carpenter said to the graduates. "As you move forward to the next stage of your life, whether it be going to college, joining the workforce, or joining the military, don't let obstacles stop you. Have the grit and perseverance necessary to overcome all the adversity in your life. If the last three years has shown us anything it's that we are stronger than we could ever think we could be. He chopping wood and the tree will fall."
When School Committee Chair Jane Burke read the names of the two highest-ranking students, who are cousins, she acknowledged that many Makuc's have been congratulated in her tenure.
"Having been with the district since 1983, there are a lot of Makuc's who have graduated," she said. "And you wonder about what's going on and the culture of their family that is making this possible."
Salutatorian Grace Makuc read an old parable that was popular in science teacher Mr. Antil's eighth-grade classroom. It taught students not to be quick to judge a situation and to be there for other peers.
"Four years of high school isn't an easy accomplishment, but with support from our community it has been made possible, nonetheless," she said.
Some awards were given out and the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association student achievement award for making a positive difference in the school community was given to Rochele Worth.
The principal's Leadership Award was given to Valedictorian Nadia Makuc. This award is presented to a senior who has demonstrated the ability to provide academic excellence and leadership in school and community activities. She also received the Superintendent's Certificate for Academic Excellence given to a senior who has distinguished themself in pursuit of excellence during their high school career.
The "Star-Spangled Banner" was sung by Ariyana Jackson and the Mount Everett Wind Ensemble played a rendition of "The Hobbits" by Johan de Meij, arr. Paul Lavender.
Also during the ceremony, graduate Ashton Aloisi was recognized for his upcoming career with the United States Marines.
Mount Everett High School Class of 2022:
Ashton John Aloisi
Alexandria Elizabeth Anderson
Alexis Keirstyn Atwood
Blake Andrew Bachetti
Conner Matthew Boardman.
Mariah Claire Broderick
Riley Jade Davis-Gagnon
Hunter Kurtis DeGrenier.
Elaina Lee Donsbough
Brianna Rae Dunn
Tyler William Duquette
Anthony Thomas Emerling
Madeline Grace Fife
Justin Douglas Clark Foster
Jazmine Marie French
Victoria Marie Gilmore
Stacey Lynn Hallock
Jason Richard Hamm Jr.
Ariyana Vicktorya Jackson
Marina Elizabeth Karampasis
Alexia Jade La Vala
Grace Anne Clare Makuc
Nadia Denise Tomasso Makuc
Vaughn Sparhawk Marchione
Kaila Ashlee Martel
Travis James McLoughlin
Elizabeth Anne McMeekin
Reece Thomas Mullen
Catherine Marie Nagy
Isaiah Quinn Neski
Hudah Ngoy Nkulu
Mikel Jeffrey Nourse
Anthony Cole Rahilly
Logan James Reynolds
Kota Andrew Rinaldi
Benjamin Thomas Shannon
Benjamin Thomas Shannon
Emma Lucy Stewart
Colin Gregory Thorp
Alexandria Grace Tomascak
Justin Thomas Wald
Rochele Mae Worth