T.F. grad: ‘Follow the twists, take the detours’

  • TFHS graduates applaud during ceremony. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Turners Falls Seniors reflect on the year as they wait for commencement ceremonies to start on Friday night.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • TFHS Salutatorian Jessica Fuller addresses her clasmates.  Recorder/Paul Franz

TURNERS FALLS — “You can only become great at something you are willing to sacrifice for.”

Principal Thomas Osborne left the 55 graduates of Turners Falls High School with some words of wisdom from poet Maya Angelou, who died Wednesday.

“When you walk out tonight, you will have no more assignments or papers,” he said. “You still have one more job to do, though. Go out into the world, and show everyone what it means to be a Turners Falls High School alum.”

The graduates also had plenty to say to their classmates.

“We made it, Class of 2014,” said senior class president Samuel Danford. “We made it through four principals, three superintendents, three turkey day victories, seven science teachers, hundreds of confiscated hats, 180 cups of smuggled coffee and countless Twitter fights.”

Danford reminded his fellow graduates that, though life doesn’t always go as planned, it’s how they handle its challenges that will define their lives.

“You need to realize that you don’t have to control every situation, you don’t need to control every situation, in order to be successful,” Danford said.

“Tonight, I stand before you and realize not much has changed in four years,” said salutatorian Jessica Fuller. “I’m still excited and nervous, and my parents are still taking thousands of pictures, but instead of waiting for the bus, I’m waiting to see what life will bring.”

“How can I decide what I want to do for the rest of my life, when I can barely decide what to wear?” she pondered.

Valedictorian Sophia Letcher also had some parting words for the Class of 2014.

“We are now faced with infinite paths that we can take,” she said. “Remember, the path you take up your mountain doesn’t have to be straight and narrow. Follow the twists, take detours, and never be afraid to stop and look at the view.”

As the graduates prepared to face life after high school, Letcher asked them to remember a favorite childhood book, “The Little Engine That Could.”

“Success is not about achieving the things you know you can do,” she said. “It’s about having the drive to accomplish what you think you can. Failure isn’t starting a business and having no customers; it’s always wanting to start a business, and never doing it.”


Anna Garbiel Scholarship, Katri Mizula; Bill Petravage Memorial Scholarship, Meghan Casey;

Brian Bogusz Athletic Scholarships, Elyssa Carner; Jessica Fuller, Lauren Grimard, Brody Markol;

Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Michael A. Smiarowski Memorial Scholarship, Jessica Fuller, Shania Vigneau;

Donald Maynard Scholarship, Lauren Grimard;

Ed Brown Memorial Scholarship, Nicole Kordana;

Elizabeth Dorrance Memorial Scholarships, Danielle Bassett, Jessica Fuller, Deonisie Gheogrita;

Everald Kate Zeno Nursing Scholarship, Emma Johnson;

Franklin County Bar Association, Sarah McCune;

Franklin County Rotary Club Scholarship, Jessica Fuller;

Fred R. Whitcomb Scholarship, Courtney Eugin, Zephyr Pope-McGraw;

Friends of Gill Scholarship, Sarah McCune;

Gill-Montague Education Association Scholarship, Nicole Kordana, Brody Markol, Sarah McCune;

GMEF Enrichment Scholarship, Courtney Eugin, Sarah McCune, Jaimee White;

H. Royer Collins Student Athlete Scholarship, Sophia Letcher;

Harriot E. Tidd Memorial Scholarship, Sarah McCune

Jane Lerner & Michael Bardsley Educational Transitions Program Scholarship, Hayley Westfall;

The Landlord Business Association Patricia M. Conway Scholarship, Lauren Grimard;

Madeline J. Carlson Scholarship, Meghan Casey, Elyssa Carner, Deonisie Gheorghitam, Brody Markol, Marcel Ortiz, Alicia Peters, Haley Westfall, Jaimee White;

Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation Scholarship, Morgan Marron;

Mary Valley Forest Art & Music Scholarship, Erin Simmons;

Mery O’Brien Memorial Scholarships, Jessica Fuller, Morgan Ozdarski, Erin Simmons;

Molly Baxter Photography Scholarship, Emma Johnson;

Newt-Guilbault Baseball League Scholarship, Brody Markol;

Our Lady of Peace Scholarship, Emma Johnson, Morgan Ozdarski, Nicholas Wells;

REAM Retired Teachers Association of Massachusetts Franklin County Chapter, Heather McKenna;

Richard O. Guy Memorial Scholarship, Brody Markol;

St. Stanislaus Society Scholarship, Morgan Ozdarski, Brody Markol;

Tobin Scholarship, Nicholas Wells;

Turners Falls All-Sports Boosters Scholarships, Lauren Grimard, Brody Markol;

Turners Falls Athletic Club Scholarships, Courtney Eugin, Lauren Grimard, Emma Johnson, Brody Markol, Morgan Ozdarski;

Turners Falls Firemen’s Relief Scholarship, Elyssa Carner, Jessica Fuller, Alicia Peters;

Turners Falls High School Alumni Scholarship, Shania Vigneau;

Turners Falls High School Student Government Service Scholarship, Samuel Danford;

Wells Trust Fund Scholarships, Elyssa Carner, Courtney Eugin, Lauren Grimard, Brody Markol, Morgan Ozdarski, Zephyr Pope-McGraw, Nicholas Wells, Jaimee White, Shelbea Lee Williams;

William Connelly Memorial Scholarship, Teagan Felton Linnell;

Woman’s Club of Turners Falls Scholarship, Danielle Loynd;

Women of the Moose Chapter 316, Lauren Grimard;

Senior Awards

Class of 1945 Joseph J. Sheff Memorial Award, Melvin Moreno; Marston Baseball Award, Marcel Ortiz;

Most Valuable Players: Baseball, Brody Markol; Basketball Boys, Malcolm Smith; Basketball and Competition Cheerleading, Courtney Eugin; Field Hockey, Lauren Grimard; Football, Malcolm Smith; Football Cheerleading, Andre’ Beauregard; Golf, Brett Sirum; Soccer Boys, Deonisie Gheorghita; Soccer Girls, Alicia Peters; Softball, Emma Johnson and Morgan Ozdarski; Tennis Boys, Deonisie Gheorghita; Track & Field, Lauren Grimard; Volleyball, Shelby Lewis; Unsung Hero Award for the Sport of Tennis, Samuel Danford;

Academic Excellence In Art Award: Erin Simmons;

Academic Excellence in Business Education Award: Jessica Fuller;

Academic Excellence in Communication Design Award: Michael Whiteman;

Academic Excellence in Filmmaking Technology Award: Morgan Ozdarski;

Academic Excellence in Film Editing Award: Emma Johnson;

Academic Excellence in Manufacturing Technology Award: Marcel Ortiz;

Academic Excellence in English: Shayna Aubrye;

Turners Falls High School Class of 1947 English Award, Nicole Kordana;

Class of 1953 for Excellence in Drama Miss Alcie Teed Award, Sophia Letcher;

Academic Excellence in Mathematics, Sophia Letcher;

Academic Excellence in Physical Education, Deonisie Gheorghita;

Academic Excellence in Life Science Award, Jessica Fuller’

Academic Excellence in Physical Science Award, Sophia Letcher;

Academic Excellence in Social Studies Awards, Morgan Ozdarski;

Musical Excellence: Danielle Loynd;

Choral Achievement Award: Erin Simmons;

Turners Falls High School Service Awards, Samuel Danford, Morgan Ozdarski;

Ellen T. Wrightson Memorial Award, Brody Markol;

American Citizenship Awards: Emma Johnson, Heather McKenna, Erin Simmons, Michael Whiteman, Shelbea Lee Williams;

National Honor Society Members: Samuel Danford, Courtney Eugin, Jessica Fuller, Lauren Grimard, Emma Johnson, Nicole Kordana, Sophia Letcher, Sarah McCune, Heather McKenna, Morgan Ozdarski, Zephyr Pope-McGraw;

President’s Awards For Academic Achievement: Lauren Grimard, Danielle Bassett, Samuel Danford, Zephyr Pope-McGraw;

President’s Awards for Academic Excellence: Sophia Letcher, Jessica Fuller, Morgan Ozdarski, Katri Mizula, Nicole Kordana;

Scholastic Merit Awards ( Top 5 Students in the Class): Sophia Letcher, Jessica Fuller, Morgan Ozdarski, Katri Mizula, Nicole Kordana;

The Saluatorian Award, Jessica Fuller;

The Valedictorian Scholarship Award, Sophia Letcher;

Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association, Erin Simmons;

Junior Book Awards presented at Senior Awards Night:

Bay Path College Book Award, Haleigh Bassett;

Rensselaer Medal Scholarship, Alexander Morin;

Saint Michaels Book Award, MacKenzie Salls, Liam Ellis;

Smith College Book Award, Danielle Conant;

Williams College Book Award, Ian MacPhail;


Nicholas Anthony Albano, Shayna Mae Aubrey, Kathryn Gail Austin, Danielle Rose Bassett, Andre’ Beauregard, Elliot James Bertini Franseen, Benjamin Bocharnikov, Elyssa Lynn Carner, Meghan Rose Casey, Zacchary Phillip Crockett, Samuel Kaplan Danford, Kelsie Leigh Deschaine, Connor M. Duffy, Courtney Lee Eugin, Teagan Felton-Linnell, Eric Scott Ferguson, Jessica Lynne Fuller,

Deonisie Gheorghita, Daniel William Girard, Lauren Grace Grimard, Emma Kathryn Johnson, Brianna Ashley Kominsky, Nicole Elaine Kordana, Ian James Lang, Sophia Monosson Letcher, Shelby Lewis, Ashleigh Marie Lovett, Danielle Loynd, Brody Baker Markol, Morgan Alyson Marron, Sarah Marie McCune, Heather Shaihleen McKenna, Katri Mizula, Melvin Alexander Moreno,

Marcel Antonio Ortiz, Morgan Wyman Ozdarski, Kaineeca Pabon, Stephen Michael Palso, Samantha Nicole Peabody, Alicia Peters, Zephyr Ciel Pope-McGraw, Tyler David Richardson, Katerina Sankova, Evan Shattuck, Erin Nicole Simmons, Brett Aaron Sirum, Malcolm Smith, Kenneth David Sroka, Shania Rae Vigneau, Nicholas James Wells, Hayley Lauren Westfall, Jaimee Lynn Geoffrey White, Michael John Whiteman III, Nicole Elizabeth Whiting, Shelbea-Lee Williams.

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