Thank you, Kelly, for that kind introduction. Dr. Lyons, Dr. Fortuna, members of the faculty and staff, family members, friends, and most importantly, the members of the class of 2014, it is my honor to be here today to share this momentous occasion with you and present our graduates with their hard-earned diplomas. Before I begin, it is only fitting that I take a moment to recognize a member of our faculty that will be graduating in a sense very soon. Mr. Luis Macedo will retire as athletic director at the conclusion of this school year after dedicating 35 years of his life to the young people of Hudson. Mr. Macedo spent time as a world language teacher, coach and for the past 16 years served as our athletic director helping to make Hudson one of the premier athletic programs in the commonwealth. In addition to his commitment to educational athletics, Mr. Macedo has his hands in just about every aspect of school operations, including our annual graduation ceremony. He will be missed upon his departure, but his legacy will remain for generations to come. Please join me in recognizing and thanking Mr. Luis Macedo.
You are here today, class of 2014, after spending over two-thirds of your young lives learning from a countless number of dedicated teachers and mentors as well as learning from each other. Whether you have spent your entire school career in Hudson or you joined this family somewhere along the way, you have been marked as members of the class of 2014 for many years and you sit here today having forged bonds that hopefully will last for many years to come.
When we first met, in August of 2011, when you were sophomores, I sensed there was something different about your class. In that very first class meeting as I shared my expectations for you as your new principal, there was a level of maturity in that auditorium that stood out in stark contrast to the other classes I spoke with on that day. My instincts about you were confirmed as I got to know you over the years, and as I reflected on our time together I kept coming back to the same characteristics: The class of 2014 is kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious. For the next three years, you continued to display these characteristics both as individuals and as a group. For the past week, I have heard people speak of these things both in formal settings and through casual conversations.
Who can forget Mr. Reinhardt’s baccalaureate speech. From beginning to end, he shared stories and thoughts that painted a very clear picture of you individually and collectively as kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious. At scholarship and awards night, many of you were honored for your academic success, leadership, or for displaying a commitment to service. As each one of you walked across the stage to receive your award – big or small – it didn’t matter. You cheered for each other, embraced those that presented you with your awards and made your families proud. I witnessed young men and women who were kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious. On Thursday night, at the senior reception, the bonds you have developed as a class were evident as you laughed together, danced together, snapped photos and created new memories of a very special yet final night together as a class. After the event, the staff of the Portuguese Club sent a message to Ms. Cothran indicating that you were one of the best high school groups they have ever hosted – once again kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious.
And even today, the remarks made by your classmates at this podium symbolize the character of this class. A few weeks ago, when I met with the class officers to plan today’s ceremony, Andrew was adamant about introducing Johnny, your valedictorian. He wouldn’t tell me the details, but he said he wanted to thank him for something he had done that had a huge impact on him years ago and he felt that he had never properly expressed his gratitude. Andrew sounded so sincere, I couldn’t say no. Hearing his remarks today about how a seemingly small act of kindness committed by a little boy in elementary school has stuck with him to this day is a very powerful characterization of your class. Ironically, John’s remarks touched upon a similar theme. Although more recent, he spoke of how some of you sitting here today through acts of kindness and friendship had an impact on him personally. Kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious.
You have endured much through your high school career and your resiliency has shone through at each turn. After adjusting to several changes brought forward with the arrival of a new principal to start your sophomore year, you rose to the challenge when a new schedule was introduced just in time for your senior year, significantly changing the way you experience learning by increasing the rigor of your workload. You responded to tragedies like the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut by wearing ribbons to show your solidarity with families of children you never met. You reacted to the terrible events that occurred at the Boston Marathon last year with fund raising efforts, tee-shirts to show that you were Boston Strong, and by providing moral support along the marathon route this April for a teacher who is very special to many of you. And, you comforted each other and gave love and support to a grieving mother who lost her son, your classmate, as you struggled to comprehend the loss of someone who was here one day and then just suddenly gone. Kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious.
As always, good comes with bad and you celebrated triumphs on the court, field, and ice. You displayed your talents on the school’s stage with dozens of dramatic productions and music concerts. You travelled the world from Germany to Peru to Portugal to spread good will and to make a difference. You were recognized regionally and nationally for your creativity as demonstrated by your artwork, your writing, your technology and engineering skills, and business acumen. You showed everyone that we have nothing to fear, because the class of 2014 is full of talented young men and women ready to take on whatever is thrown at them and ready to assume their roles as active contributors to our global community. Kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious.
So now with all of your high school coursework complete. With your final games in Hudson red and white having been played. With the curtain down on your final high school performance, look to the future. While it’s certainly OK to look back every once and a while, be sure to look forward most of the time. I hope you use the lessons you learned at Hudson High School as you blaze a path forward. Let us know about the successes you achieve and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I hope you continue to embrace and experience all that life has to offer, class of 2014, and that you remain kind and compassionate, grounded by relationships, hardworking and conscientious. Congratulations.
It is now my responsibility and honor this 1st day of June, in the year 2014, to certify that all of these young men and women gathered here this afternoon have successfully met the graduation requirements of Hudson High School and successfully completed all requirements established by the Board of Education and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and should hereby be awarded their Hudson High School diplomas so that they may continue to impact the local and broader communities as life-long learners and active citizens. Congratulations!