Westport seniors earn their diplomas

Sixty-eight graduates walked at Saturday commencement

By Ted Hayes
Posted 6/15/22

Some coasted through, others barely scraped by. But no matter how they got there, or where they're going, Kyra Ferreira told her 67 fellow Wesport High School graduates Saturday morning that "it …

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Westport seniors earn their diplomas

Sixty-eight graduates walked at Saturday commencement

Posted

Some coasted through, others barely scraped by. But no matter how they got there, or where they're going, Kyra Ferreira told her 67 fellow Wesport High School graduates Saturday morning that "it doesn't matter how you got here."

"There is so much future ahead for everyone in this class," said Ferreira, the class president. "Everyone here is capable of great things."

Sixty-eight seniors received their diplomas Saturday morning, meeting for commencement exercises in the parking lot outside the new middle high school on Old County Road. It was a glorious day, and one administrator said the class was owed a debt of gratitude for pushing that commencement be held outside, instead of indoors as has been the case in  the past.

"This is your graduation day (and) this is your achievement," said school committee chairwoman Nancy Stanton-Cross as she thanked the class for their advocacy this year. "Bask in that today. Live in the moment. Tomorrow will come soon enough for you."

The Class of 2022 is unlike most of those that have gone before, several students noted. Though they started off their freshman year in ignorant bliss, the pandemic took a toll during their sophomore and junior years, and still kept its grip this year.

Looking back on it, "being trapped in your house was not as fun as it first seemed," joked Salutatorian Christopher Wilson said.

But in some ways, COVID brought resilience and taught tough, but necessary lessons. Valedictorian Laura Martel said the past few years have been a lesson that "we have to remain ready for those unexpected situations," be it the pandemic, the situation in Ukraine or the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

"Through these unexpected circumsances, human nature is revealed," she said. "Our high school experience has been unpredictable, to say the leasat. Our class was obligated to mature (and) we were forced to adapt to our new surroundings."

"What did we take away from this? The pandemic has been a test of our characters." But "you still rolled out of bed and showed up to online class — a model for future generations was formed. We have discovered ourselves ... through these difficult times. All you can offer is your best effort, and that is enough."

Principal Kerri McKinnon said she was proud of each and every graduate for doing what it took to put on their caps and gowns.

"I am so grateful that this graduating class could finish their high school career with a normal senior year. Everything you have lived through better prepares you for your future endeavors.

Going forward?

"I'm sure you have heard the cliche 'live and learn,'" she said. "This is what I want all of you to experience.

2022 by East Bay Newspapers

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.