WILMINGTON, MA – Congratulations to the Wilmington High School Class of 2015! Yesterday afternoon’s graduation was a wonderful ceremony fitting for such a wonderful group of students.
After the staff and student processed in the WHS Gym, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the National Anthem was performed, Class President Siobhan Collins began the ceremony with a farewell address, praising the Class of 2015 for its innovation, intelligence, ability to adapt, acceptance, and open-mindedness.
“I’ve been truly honored to be a part of this class and serve as its President,” said Collins. Quoting Shakespeare, she expressed excitement for the future, noting “we know what we are now, but not what we may become.”
Chairwoman Peggy Kane congratulated the Class of 2015 on being the first class to graduate from the new Wilmington High School.
“As you look around today, please take a moment to understand the meaning of this day in the town of Wilmington,” said Kane. “This is a town that believes strongly in education,” noting residents were willing to sacrifice for current and future students by finding a way to finance the building project. “This town believes strongly in you.”
Superintendent of Schools Mary DeLai emphasized just how special the Class of 2015 is, providing examples of the students’ deeply-held commitment to service, compassion and resilience.
DeLai also reminded students to express gratitude for their education, teachers and families.
“Be grateful for the education you received from Wilmington Public Schools and all the teachers in your life,” said DeLai. “These folks looked after you and made sure you made it here today. Most of all, be grateful to your families. Without their support, you wouldn’t be where you are or who you are today.”
WHS Principal Linda Peters, a longtime math teacher, told students “numbers and formulas can’t spell out how much you mean to me.”
“Because of you, I have endless memories filled with joy, happiness and triumph,” said Peters. “I’ve enjoyed and marveled at your success… I came to school everyday for you, the graduating Class of 2015. You are my life. I can only hope your future will be as gratifying as my time has been with you.”
Peters then shared an original poem she wrote to the Class of 2015.
Essayist Caroline Johnston addressed the graduates with a humorous speech, highlighting the class’s patience.
“The Class of 2015 has displayed a great deal of patience,” said Johnston. “We sat through the protests that delayed the construction of the new school. We went two years without a gymnasium… We weren’t allowed to use the new auditorium initially…. We’re glad to experience this new building, not matter how short.”
Salutatorian Jacob Aoki warned his classmates never to settle.
“Avoid complacency,” said Aoki. “Don’t peak in high school! Continue to learn. Develop passions. Figure out what will make you happy and what difference you want to make in the world. Don’t ever settle for anything less.”
Valedictorian Kevin Dunn advised his classmates to be themselves and strive to meet their own goals, not the goals of others.
Dunn relayed his experience of getting wait-listed by Harvard, but then realizing he never really wanted to go to Harvard, even though others wanted him to.
“Live your life according to you,” said Dunn. “Set your own standards. Accomplish your goals. Don’t let anyone tell you want you should do. Ask yourself – is this what’s really best for you? Please one person – yourself. If you feel confident with who you are, others’ opinions don’t matter.”
WHS Teacher of the Year Mike Maloney offered sage advice to the Class of 2015.
“Always accept life’s challenges. Try new things. Enjoy new opportunities. Have fun. Be thankful for the people who help you along the way, especially your family. Explore the world. Make friends. Make some more. Be good people. Never hesitate to task a risk in achieving your goals.”
Maloney, quoting Larry Bird, told students, “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” Maloney warned students nothing will be handed to them in life and that they’ll need to be prepared to work hard for everything they earn.
After diplomas were handed out, with Assistant Principals Dennis Mahoney and Christopher Phillips reading off the students names, former Wilmington Middle School Principal – and current North Elementary Principal – Christine McMenimen introduced Michael Murphy, who was named an honorary member of the Class of 2015 and received a certificate of achievement, delivered by several of his friends, including Matt Penney, who was named the recipient of the first annual Michael Murphy scholarship.
55 photos, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television’s live broadcast, can be seen below. Additional photos can be found HERE from the Wilmington Advocate and HERE from the Lowell Sun.
30+ graduates receiving their diplomas: