The Haines School graduated seventeen students Tuesday night. The ceremony was filled with music, beyond the usual Pomp and Circumstance. Speakers shared advice about being fearless, having ambition and pushing boundaries.
The concert choir sang Bill Withers “Lean On Me,” as the small class of soon-to-be graduates looked on.
“You are a class that’s had from the beginning, a reputation for being creative, motivated, smart, funny, clever, personable and eager to learn.” said Lisa Andriesen. The commencement speaker taught the students when they were in middle school. She reflected on those years to provide advice for the future.
“In middle school you are caught between childhood and adulthood,” said Andriesen. “You are there again. You are caught between a young person and a grownup. Discovering who you are in the world. The whole world is open to you. Who will you be, where will you go, who will you meet?”
Andriesen told the students to be daring as they head into the next phase of their lives.
“Go beyond your comfort level,” said Andriesen. “If you always keep things easy for yourself, how will you know your full potential? This next phase of your life is supposed to be uncomfortable as you chart new territories. But don’t be afraid of that discomfort and awkwardness. Use this fearlessness to grow as a person and become the best version of yourself.”
Salutatorian Alexandria Habra addressed the class.
“We have come a long way to be where we are now,” said Habra. “And have been in school for what feels like a long, long time. Now we have the chance to spread our wings and take flight toward a better tomorrow with ourselves as the guides.”
Like Andriesen, she looked to the past for a piece of advice.
“As was once said in one of my favorite television shows as a child, Winnie the Pooh, rivers know this, there is no hurry, we shall get there someday,” said Habra.
Speaking of rivers, Dylan Palmieri performed “Rivers and Roads,” with his brothers Keegan and Brennan.
Valedictorian Madeline Andriesen gave her classmates advice by speech, and through song with Mori Hays. They performed “I Hope You Dance.”
“When I look around at all of us, I see so many ambitious people who are going to make the most of the rest of our lives. No matter what we do, whether it includes going to college, vocational school, the military, working or traveling. We will all go places in life,” said Andriesen.
She advised her fellow graduates to be more present in everything they do.
“Something to keep in mind as we start to make our own choices, is don’t just look, see,”said Andriesen. “See the good and bad around you and contribute to making everything you see better. Don’t just hear, listen. Going one step further than being present when someone’s talking to you will open doors and build strong relationships.”
She congratulated her friends and classmates.
“We the class of 2017 will push boundaries and make this world a better place in any way we possibly can,” said Andriesen. “I will miss you all. Congratulations, we did it, class of 2017.”