Twin Valley graduates urged to do their part
by Jack Deming
Jun 19, 2014 | 3070 views | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Graduation 2014
The TVHS class of 2014 listening to one of the speakers.
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WILMINGTON- Twin Valley High School handed diplomas to 37 graduating seniors on Saturday, as Baker Field was transformed into a celebration of individual achievement, and years of adulthood swung into view. Just as future challenges became the theme of the afternoon, so too was the prominence of what the class of 2014 signified. This group leaves Twin Valley as the final class to graduate from the old building on Beaver Street, first used as a school 115 years ago. As speaker and former TVHS history teacher Philip Moriarty highlighted, those 115 years have contributed to their success.

“All the members of this group, the ones who graduated, helped you get here,” said Moriarty. “You are standing on their shoulders. You can see farther and more clearly because of those who came before.”

Moriarty spoke of many instances when the town and its graduates made their contribution to that legacy, including 1930 when, during the throes of the Great Depression, the town made sure to pass budgets to improve their schools, and the class of 1942, who graduated into a world at war.

“Doing your part takes different forms,” said Moriarty. “You are the last additions to this list, and it’s a pretty good list to be on. Give a nod of thanks to those who came before. They did their part to ensure you could do yours.”

Not one of the ceremony’s speakers failed to use the word “challenges.” Co-salutatorian Zebulon Shippee spoke of the challenge of understanding life’s complexities, but using them to see the good. “There will always be conflict, and life will always be challenging in some way, shape or form,” said Shippee. “Not only do I accept this, I embrace it, because as painful and terrifying as the bad things in life may be, without them we would never be able to appreciate the good things in life. Sometimes the greatest thing in life is the fulfillment of standing up for what you care about and believe in.”

For his counterpart, Abby Putnam, challenges are something she encouraged her fellow graduates to never shy away from. “Our lives are not designed by the challenges we have faced, but rather the way we’ve overcome them,” said Putnam. “We’re going to face challenges daily, but where would we be if we turned away every time we face a challenge? Our challenges won’t break us, they’ll make us. Challenge yourself in all areas of your life, and it will give you greater opportunities to show the world what you’re made of.”

Former TVHS teacher Linda Hughes compared Twin Valley’s graduates to pieces in a kaleidoscope, all destined to fall into place, shining in their individual ways. “We send you off today having been molded, perhaps transformed, by some unknown lesson, some unsuspected personal influence, by the love and nurture received from your families and by the school,” said Hughes. “So, graduates, go out into your lives as bright colorful shards of light, land in the right place, and make us proud.”

While each speaker presented their own take on the past, the present, and the future, former Twin Valley Middle School principal and current Dover School principal Bill Anton provided a simple piece of advice: Be kind. “ As I thought about what I wanted to share today, one thing stands out: kindness,” said Anton. “Nothing else matters more. Not competence, your parents’ contacts, the school you graduated from. When you meet another person, they don’t care where you’re from, who your parents are, what you scored in the final game, or what you got on a final in English four. They simply care that you are kind.”

Anton provided laughs as well, reminiscing about the students who greeted him on his first day, the parents who gave him what was at times differing advice, and the achievements already made by the graduates, who have “made the entire valley proud.”

Saluting a class of graduates slated for college, the workforce, and four who have been accepted into the military, outgoing TVHS principal Bob Morse summed up the class as one that was of vital importance in the creation of a positive culture at TVHS. “In all the years I’ve been an educator, which is over 40 years, I’ve not worked with a better group of kids, that have been motivated to do well, and I mean that from my heart,” said Morse. “I want to thank you for all you’ve taught me in my years here. If I can inspire others in the way you’ve inspired me, I know I will be successful in my next stage of life.”
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