NORTH ATTLEBORO — On Community Field — “Big Red Country” — over 270 North Attleboro High School graduates received their diplomas on Friday night, after a near last-minute change of venue prompted the relocation from the high school.
The unsafe conditions of the bleachers in the high school’s athletic field required an alternate location for the school’s 131st commencement with only days to prepare.
Due to limited parking, the graduates and many other ceremony patrons were shuttled from the high school to the field by school bus.
However, traffic was still congested through the downtown area as other patrons sought a parking place closer to the field.
During the graduation ceremony, NAHS principal Peter Haviland praised the combined efforts of the community who were able to make the graduation ceremony happen at all.
In a special presentation before the diplomas were awarded, Haviland also recognized half a dozen graduates who were about to join the military by presenting each with a coin representing each of the various branches.
For class president Todd Robinson, the word “proud” came to mind when he thought of the class of 2019.
“Whether it be on the athletic field, the performing arts stage or in the classroom, this class has so much to be proud of,” Robinson said.
“I encourage you to apply your sense of pride and your confidence to whatever you set out to do in the next chapter of your life.”
Vanessa Ibrahim and Evan Rosenberg, the salutatorian and valedictorian of their class, stood together at the podium to read their collaborated speech, “Thank You.”
“We didn’t make it to this point by ourselves, so we didn’t want to give this speech by ourselves,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim and Rosenberg took turns reading portions of what Rosenberg called the “thank-you note” on behalf of the graduating class, where teachers, families and friends — and even the town of North Attleboro — were acknowledged.
“You never let us give up on ourselves,” Ibrahim read during one section of the speech. “You taught us that half the battle is turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can.’”
As the pace of life begins to rapidly increase, Superintendent Scott Holcomb encouraged the graduates to take quiet moments to block out the noise of everyday life, and to hold on to the “special moments” throughout their lives.
“What I want for you is to make sure that you hold on to something special in your life, that you don’t let go of those special moments,” Holcomb said. “It’s so easy, as you grow older, to let those special moments slip away.”