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Mount Greylock Class of 2022 Urged to Know Themselves
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:55PM / Saturday, June 11, 2022
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Mount Greylock Regional School graduates 73 seniors on Saturday.


The class was told they were a resilient group who'd overcome plenty of obstacles during the pandemic. See more photos here. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School class of 2022 had to overcome more than a few obstacles on their way to graduation on Saturday. 
 
Class President Henry Art said it was a "singular example of the resiliency" the cohort of 73 had shown particularly through the last three years. 
 
"High school itself is a challenging environment in many different ways for many different people — academically, socially, logistically. But adding in the pandemic on top of that created an obstacle which at times felt insurmountable, and, indeed, for many of us, this time in our lives has caused great pain and suffering," he said. "The strain of growing up in such an uncertain time has taken considerable toll on our mental health. And yet, here we sit."
 
He'd missed out on senior week activities after a positive test for COVID-19, and he recalled those times when they were all isolated at home while also attending class. He'd listened to a podcast about a triathlete who described the obstacles in his way as "great mental training."
 
"I resolved to do the same. Whenever being isolated felt difficult, I reminded myself that it was great mental training and that going through it would make this moment right here all the sweeter," he said. "What comes next is completely uncertain, and may not always be enjoyable. Things happen all the time that are completely out of our control. In those situations, we only cause ourselves more suffering by attempting to change our circumstances. Instead, you must play the hand that you're down and make the best of what we have."
 
The best on Saturday was an in-person graduation in the gymnasium with plenty of recollections, inside jokes, serious advice and warm congratulations. 
 
Superintendent Jason McCandless said he wouldn't miss nose-swabbing duty but he would very much miss this community of learners who had excelled in so many fields. 
 
"Seeing each of you simply being you serves as a daily reminder to me and many others of why being a public school educator is simply the most optimistic and hopeful profession one can choose to go into," he said. "All of you deserve all the accolades that you've gotten and will get. You deserve all the attention and you deserve all of the love that you're going to receive today."
 
He offered some advice he'd received from a college mentor, professor Robert J. Starratt of Boston College: Know yourself.  
 
That mean's knowing what you value, what you're good at, where your courage lies, what you really believe in and when you need help. 
 
"If you know yourself, no one else gets to define you. If you know yourself, you'll be comfortable and you'll be confident in that self and you'll be celebratory in who everybody else is," said McCandless. "You'll have the courage to admit your mistakes and to learn from them and the grit to press on even though you're embarrassed by those mistakes. If you know yourself, you will really truly be authentic. ...
 
"Then share that self and share that love with others as you move into a larger world where each of you will live learn and lead to make wherever you are a much, much better place as you have the Mount Greylock Regional School District."
 
The selected class speakers also touched on connections and differences, with the class's chosen speaker Alayna Schwarzer pondering how they had had no time or space to deal with that loss of normal class cohesion caused by the pandemic. She found an anology in the class's sophomore year on the "last normal day."
 
"One orange, one apple and one fork managed to find their way into a toilet on the first floor. On their flushing, they caused the entirety of the first floor to become inundated with the contents of both the septic and plumbing systems," she said to laughter. "I think, in a way, that apple, that orange and that fork work as a beautiful metaphor. 
 
"The moral of the story is although they may look and act differently, they nonetheless managed to come together to achieve something. The utter dysfunction of these past three years kind of forced us to develop stronger identities as individuals, which I think if anything, makes our class an even more compelling as a group of people."
 
Anthony Welch, selected by the faculty, said the school was the one thing they all had in common — whether they'd been together since kindergarten or met this year "through a glitchy Chromebook screen."
 
"The only thing I am sure about our futures is that they are unsure. And that is OK. Because when you come to a task or a problem all you have to do is look inside of yourself and find the lesson you learned ... I want you all to remember, wherever you all are in life, whatever challenge you're tackling, do it your way."
 
Principal Jacob Schutz urged them to continue to use their imaginations as they set forth. 
 
"Your experience and education from your time here matter, your acquisition of skills and understanding matters. What you intend to study matters," he said. "Your contributions to this planet will be meaningful, productive and their own unique ways. But never settle academically. Continue to be curious. Don't stop asking the hard questions. Don't just peek behind the curtain, but keep ripping it down.
 
Ceremonies included the recognition of student awards before the diplomas were presented by School Committee Chair Christina Conroy, McCandless and Schutz. The school orchestra and band played several selections. 
 
Graduates Katherine Swann and Emma Sandstrom made the presentations of Staff Member of the Year Award to Bridget Balawender of the guidance office and Teacher of the Year to English teacher Rebecca Tucker-Smith, who expressed how the joy her students found in their pets convinced her to become a first-time owner of two fluffy cats that now populate her lessons. 
 
"When we create this narrative about who we are, or about what we kind of can or cannot do or do or don't like, we're sometimes closing ourselves off from opportunities for joy or connection," she said. "I hope you connect with people who are kind and supportive and that you are kind and supportive to the people around you. And you should all become teachers and get cats."
 
 
The Mount Greylock Regional Class of 2022
 
Zoe Carolyn Armet*
Osmin Josue Rubio-Andrade
Henry Walter Art*
Alexander Michael Axt
Aidan Richard Barnes
Jordyn Elizabeth Beaulieu
Timothy Octave Beliveau
Adriel Alexander Benko
Saku Richard Bergendahl
Josephine Blackburn White-Smith
Edward Franklin Brannan*
Bryant Nathan Bouchard
William Thomas Broadwell*
Jillian Michayla Bump*
John Frederick Cangelosi
Jack Andrew Catelotti*
Cayden Thomas Conry*
Takiera Emily Darrow*
Christian Forest Doucette
Maisie Paige Dufour*
Diego Gálvez*
Samantha Leigh Garzone
Caroline Marquis Gillette
Ryan Patrick Goss*
Jonah Matthew Hane*+
Conor Buell Harrison
Luca Sebastien Savage Hirsch*
Landen Stephen Jamula
Simon Jennings-Klompus
Matthew Adam Johnson
Mia Amèlie La Frazia
Rosario Michelle Larios-Sontay*
Felicia Rose LaRoche
Juliann Irene Lawson
Tessa Grace Leveque
Cyera Cykiya Lindsey
Madison Grace MacHaffie
Thomas Joseph Martin
Preston David Maruk
Catherine Ann McAllister*
Karissa Grace Mclnerney
Eleanor Vaughn McPartland
Jamie-Lee Yvonne Meintjes
Isaiah Nasir Mejias
Sophia Rome Mele*
Troy Andrew Michalak
Livia Frances Morales*
Teague James Murphy*
Maya Lucie Niemeyer
Derek Jaden Paris*
Tej Vipul Patel
Sarah Whitney Reynolds
Jamie Lynn Rhinemiller
Lily Sabina Rorke
Sarah Ann Sample
Emma Claire Sandstrom*
Piper Kalle Gans Schulman
Alayna Marie Schwarzer*
Aireanna Ellen Shaw
Mackenzie Katherine Sheehy*
Samantha Rose Slick
Christian Matthew Sullivan*
Katherine Elizabeth Swann*
Jesse Warren Nickum Tague
David Paul Tatro
Camden Michael Taylor
Alexis Taylor Toomey*
Cameron Joseph Turner
Lauren Colette Voorhies
Rona Li Shan Wang*
Anthony Joseph Welch*
Parker David Winters
Malina Macy Woodbury*
 
*National Honor Society
+Latin National Honor Society

 

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