Four years of hard work, sleepless nights and determination came to fruition Sunday afternoon as 250 seniors graduated from Medfield High School.
The Class of 2011 shared its accomplishments with parents, friends, teachers, coaches and administration at the Medfield High School Turf during its commencement ceremony. The graduating seniors listened to messages and words of advice from several speakers.
Superintendent of Schools Bob Maguire commended the Class of 2011 on behalf of the school district's staff from kindergarten through 12, who worked with these 250 students over the years. Maguire spoke of the concept of community and its value in the school system, something this group of seniors achieved during their high school careers.
"Community is supported by many things. In school it can be supported by parents, supported by committee and dedicated educators like Mr. DeSorgher, Mrs. McDermott and Ms. Noble," said Maguire. "To build this community, you needed to contribute to it and give of yourselves. You needed to contribute your talent and skills, you needed to take care of each other. You needed to bring a sense of humor and laughter into that building every day. You also needed to be willing to compromise and be appreciative of the skills of each other and be tolerant of the differences between you. ... I would argue that a sense of community is something that inhibits everything that is the human experience."
Maguire's advice to the Class of 2011 was to take the sense of community it helped build at Medfield High School and take it to college, the workplace and eventually where each of these students settles down to live.
"Be a contributor, continue to care and have a sense of humor," he said. "Continue to respect and tolerate others."
School Committee chair, Timothy Bonfatti, delivered the message to the Class of 2011 and stressed the importance of keeping connections made in high school throughout life.
"As you leave Medfield High and enter the second stage of your life with excitement and enthusiasm, remember now the experiences you shared, the lessons you learned and the values you developed while you were here," Bonfatti said. "As you meet new friends, benefit from your new mentors, don’t forget the friends, teachers, coaches and parents who have influenced you so greatly through the first phase of your life. ... "Make the effort to keep alive to keep the connections you made here when you just started the tapestry of your life."
Class president Stephen Krawec said graduation was “bitter sweet.”
“Sweet because I get to see my friends and peers move on to bigger and better things,” Krawec said. “Bitter as well because I realize there are classmates of mine with whom I will never become close and whom I may never speak to or see again. But as my mom always tells me: ‘You can’t do everything.’”
MHS seniors Kathryn Berger and Richard Horan were the ceremony’s honor essayists and each delivered valuable messages to their classmates.
Berger spoke of the hard work of the Class of 2011 and the success it achieved before asking the question: “How will we, the Class of 2011, be remembered?”
“Many would say Facebook and other Social Media are a large part of our definition,” she said. “I suppose, in some ways I agree. It’s nice to think we will be remembered for technological innovation.”
But Berger was not convinced that social media defined her and her classmates. She spoke of a class that reaches far beyond social media.
“A class full of talent on the field, on stage and in the classroom. Athletes, artists, people who compassionately help people in need. We are so much more than just a website,” she said.
Horan provided the audience and his classmates comic relief with his speech, which was a perfect mix of wit, humor and honesty. He spoke of rituals, superstitions and the familiarity that comes with the things in life you know and become accustomed to. As he and his classmates prepared for the next phases of their lives, he knew that all he had grown up knowing was on the brink of change.
“I lived in the same town, in the same house, in the same set of rituals for the entire span of my memory,” he said. “Slowly but surely the trappings of high school are falling away and with them the traditions we have known forever. We’re leaving pieces of our old lives behind but we are taking the essential with us. … “We will hold on to the rituals we’ve got, even if we pick up knew ones.”
Kevin Holbrook was the senior speaker and spoke of passion, mainly, the passion of his classmates and teachers.
“The Medfield High School Class of 2011 holds some of the most passionate individuals that I have ever met,” he said. “Medifeld is a paradise of passionate people. As we embark on the next phase of our lives, whether it is to college, work, the military or some grand adventure around the globe, make the most of it. Find that passion and go for it. While some have found that true passion, most of us probably have not and that’s OK. … Keep an open mind and open your heart to the many different wonders the world has to offer. You all are special and truly can do anything you set your mind to and never compromise on your passion.”
Medfield High School principal Judy Noble was last to speak and spoke of “the important take aways” she wanted the Class of 2011 to hear before moving on in their lives.
“Graduates, I want you to hear that you are the best and the brightest,” she said. “You are compassionate human beings, you will go far. There will be many different pathways taken and that is perfectly fine. There will be ups and downs along the way and that is perfectly fine. If a mistake happens, try to learn from it so that one doesn’t occur again. Look optimistically to the future, believe in yourself and work to improve the world. You can make a difference. Remember that the process of learning never ends. It never reaches full capacity. Respect and try to understand all points of view for their value to the whole and treat each as an important part to the resolution of problems.”
She finished her speech by reciting some words from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go” to the Class of 2011.
Berger asked how the Medfield High School Class of 2011 how it will be remembered, how it will be defined. While the answer remains to be seen – it is clear this class will be remembered for its talent.
“Sitting here together is some of the finest students in America,” Maguire said. “They are nationally commended scholars, nationally recognized Charles Mingus musicians, state athletic champions. You have done a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities that this community has provided to you.”
Notes: Judy Noble gave her final message as principal of Medfield High School as she will retire at the end of this school year. … Medfield High School teachers Richard DeSorgher and Janet McDermott were recognized at Sunday’s commencement, as both will be retiring at the end of the school year. … DeSorgher has served the Medfield community for 35 years as a teacher and McDermott has 40 years of service. … The Class of 2011 gift to Medfield High School is Century Park, which will consist of a lunch spot and two trees in memoriam of classmates Lisa Palermo and Will Judge. … State Representative Denis Garlick was in attendance at graduation.