Photos: Barrington graduates a class united
Class of 2017 praised as a caring and concerned class
The 243 members of the Barrington High School Class of 2017 walked into the gymnasium on Sunday afternoon, each wearing identical blue graduation gowns with gold piping.
This year marked the first time in recent history that Barrington students were not divided — male graduates wearing blue and females wearing white — but rather united in a single color. And it was that togetherness that carried through as a theme for the Class of 2017.
In his speech before the presentation of graduates, school principal Joseph Hurley told the standing room-only crowd that this year's graduating class has a social consciousness and is one of the most inclusive classes he has seen since becoming school principal in 2009.
“Four years ago, in the fall of 2013, a group of young students entered the halls of Barrington High School that were regarded by some as being somewhat less than remarkable," he said. "Now here we sit four years later and it’s clear to see that the Class of 2017, made up of individuals with so many different talents, is one of the most remarkable classes to have graduated from Barrington High.
“Although extremely talented academically, athletically, musically, artistically, and list goes on and on, this class also has a social conscience that is second to none. Programs such as Unified Sports and Theater, Chain Reaction, and the Student Council’s BOTC, to name only a few, have helped to define this class one of unity and inclusion."
Mr. Hurley continued: "As I have gotten to know the students seated behind me today, although gifted in so many ways, it is their perseverance, their never give up attitude, and their true caring and concern for one another that characterizes them as the Class of 2017,” the principal said.
Although Barrington High School does not select a valedictorian, seniors are encouraged to submit an essay to recite at the graduation ceremony. This year, Lauren Grove's and Lindsay Daugherty’s essays were chosen by the administration.
Ms. Daugherty, who started the Unified Theater program at Barrington High School, said she is proud to be from Barrington and that the schools and the entire community have prepared the graduates for the future.
“We live in a time in which we are constantly focused on improving," she said. "Millennials are known for criticizing and complaining. As a class, we’ve talked a lot about student stress. We have reflected as a community on technology integration in education. We’ve extensively debated school start time policy. These are all valid issues that should be talked about, but I am standing before you today, and I am asking you to listen to me. I am a product of Barrington, Rhode Island. The Class of 2017 is a product of Barrington, RI. And we are prepared…
"Barrington is a unique place, and we have all had the privilege to be educated by teachers who want to teach us, the privilege to be trusted to pursue our passions, the privilege to explore our interests and thrive in a remarkably supportive community.
"Unfortunately, because we are 18 years old, we have often been blind to these privileges. Let’s use this event of reflection to inform our future perspectives. Let’s be grateful. Let’s wake up and see our respective worlds for what they are. We can start today. Right now, all of our worlds are full of opportunity. Let’s use that. Let’s tackle the world with the leadership qualities we developed in clubs, the communications skills we learned through senior project, the kindness we saw in Chain Reaction.
"Let’s stop complaining and instead invest our energy into making the world a better place. We each had the unique opportunity to graduate from Barrington High School, and now, much is expected of us,” Ms. Daugherty said.
Ms. Grove made mention of the bright futures among her classmates as evident on the caps that bore the schools many will be attending next year.
“If not just the tops of our graduation caps summarize this, with their unprecedented amount of Ivy League and other top-notch colleges represented, then the academic drive, unique ambition, and well-roundedness of every student that I have encountered reflects this. Among us, I believe, we have students with the potential of being a future Broadway actress, Olympic athlete, CEO, and much, much more. Even now, I look forward to seeing all of this success at our future class reunions and knowing that I grew up with these people in the little town of Barrington," she said.
“But it doesn’t make sense to leave this day feeling nostalgic and melancholy considering that this ceremony does not mark the end of an era as much as it signifies the beginning of an even greater one. We now have the opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge that Barrington schools have taught us and create an identity of our own that will endure far longer than the span of our lives so far. Our potential as a class is limitless: we are equipped with everything we need to succeed,” she said.
Laura Clancy, senior class president, gave a heartfelt welcome address that drew many chuckles from her classmates with memories from the years they have spent together as students, friends and teammates.
She also asked them to realize that their years as students in Barrington helped them prepare for the future.
“We may not be quite sure what we are qualified for, we may not be clear on exactly what our qualifications are or how they can help us, but as hard as it is for us to define them within our own lives, know this: We are delineated by our strong, bold, and creative individual personalities, and with those in tow, we are qualified for anything,” Ms. Clancy said.
Senior Lilly Howell, who will attend the University of Southern California studying economics, summed up her experience as a student in Barrington by saying:
“Barrington High School has prepared me for the future by giving me the academic and social skills to be confident going to college in the fall and into the real world,” she said.
Twice school officials had to relocate graduation events this weekend. On Saturday, workers first set up for an outdoor event on the varsity soccer field, but then relocated the event indoors when wet weather threatened. And again on Sunday, workers had set up all the chairs on Victory Field. Later in the day, officials made the move to relocate graduation to the gymnasium. While the space was limited indoors, the event was also streamed live online.