‘Reach for the stars to change the world’: Pioneer graduates 48 in Class of 2023

By LIESEL NYGARD

For the Recorder

Published: 06-04-2023 5:15 PM

NORTHFIELD — Forty-eight decorated mortarboards were given a joyful toss into the air on Friday, as members of the Pioneer Valley Regional School Class of 2023 celebrated the fruits of their labor.

Superintendent Patricia Kinsella began the commencement ceremony, which was moved from the athletic fields to the gymnasium due to rain, by acknowledging “the diverse ways [students] are going to work and learn and make the world a better place.”

“As long as you are intentional,” Kinsella said, “and as long as you stay connected and surrounded by people who truly respect you and support you, it will work out.”

After graduate Ella Rowan-Decker performed “Laurie’s Song” from Aaron Copland’s opera, “The Tender Land,” Salutatorian and Class President Cooper Bullock spoke about the forest floor as an analogy to the graduates.

“You’re the roots grounded, reaching further into the Earth. Families and friends, you are those roots that keep them grounded in an ever-changing world,” Bullock said. “May each one of you succeed, persevere, challenge, overcome and change to make a better you and make a difference in this world.”

Valedictorian Laila Heilman began her speech by thanking Pioneer’s faculty and staff members “for the important skills they have instilled” in the graduates. Heilman included a quote from Harriet Tubman: “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

In his speech, social studies and human behavior teacher Matthew Killeen launched into a detailed explanation of the vast array of variables and statistical probabilities that play a factor in a person being born, proving to graduates just how unique they are.

“I know just enough,” Killeen said, “to know that you’re all in different places with different goals, attributes and readiness to do whatever you’re going to do next.”

Graduates

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Eli William Baker, Elizabeth Ann Ballou, Jacob Lawrence Balzer, Luc Reilly Belhumeur, Jonathan Shea Bodenstein, Joshua Richard Bordeaux, Cooper Daniel Bullock, Hayleigh Renee Bulman, Angelo Anthony Candello, Kendrick Mellogo Celiz, Brett Michael Coleman, Nathaniel Javier Cosme, Ryan John deLaBruere, Whitney Yve Dunklee, Donald Stewart Fraser III, Samuel Robert Glazier, Hannah Ruth Goodwin, Ryan Fisher Groth, Kimberly Grace Hale, Kylie Nicole Hall, Olivia Bella Hammond, Laila Matteson Heilman, Jared Alan Johancen, Laura Marie Kahler, Dylan James Lenois, Mya Jane Campbell Lewis, Peter Crittenden Loud, Maelin Pearl Manning, Alexis Jean Maylin, Connor Owen McHaffie, Levi Anthony Moran, Shaelyn Elaine Mullen, Alexis Rae Pratt, Caroline Emerson Ring, Ella Ray Rowan-Decker, Patrick Thomas Russell, Avery Julianne Sargent, Kelseigh Janice Sargent, Lucia Grace Saviano, Mya Renee Shattuck, Ian Douglas Fraser Simpson, Matthew Lucien Singh, James Ernest Peter Staelens, Sofia Rose Walker, Summer Danielle Walker, Ryan Alan Wheelock, Lily Morgan Willard and Ryan James Wyngowski.

Awards and scholarships

Eli Baker: Outstanding Effort in Ceramics; Elizabeth Ballou: Fred R. Whitcomb Scholarship, Grover/Barnes Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship; Jonathan Bodenstein: Excellence in Nutrition & Foods, Abigail Stratton Award, Foundation for Educational Excellence Richard Martin Theater Award; Joshua Bordeaux: Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Jason Peters Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Cooper Bullock: Salutatorian, Principal’s Award, John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Silver “P” Award from the National Honor Society, Excellence in AP Environmental Science, Outstanding Achievement in Spanish; Ethel Raymond: Orcutt Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Montague Elks Lodge 2521 Scholarship, Greenfield Elks Lodge Duane A. Nelson Scholarship; Hayleigh Bulman: Excellence in English 12, Outstanding Achievement in Vocational Skills; Angelo Candello: Most Improved in Chemistry; Kendrick Celiz: Excellence in Human Behavior, Stephen F. Balk Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Ned Green Scholarship, Alice, Eric & Oscar Anderson Scholarship; Brett Coleman: Kathy Bonnett Memorial Award; Nathaniel Cosme: Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Whitney Dunklee: Pioneer Valley Kennel Club Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Samuel Glazier: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, George A. Warner Fund Scholarship, Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Hannah Goodwin: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Evelyn G. Lawley Award, Grover/Barnes Award; Kylie Hall: Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Grover/Barnes Award; Olivia Hammond: Excellence in Advanced Nutrition, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Grover/Barnes Award, Northfield Fire Department Floyd M. Dunnell Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Theodore Cronyn Award; Laila Heilman: Valedictorian, Excellence in Ceramics, John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Excellence in AP Calculus, Excellence in Statistics, Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Leonard Eastman Award, Montague Elks Lodge 2521 Scholarship, Lucy Wilder Memorial Humanitarian Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Thaddeus M. Ostrowski Memorial Award, Tyler Family Memorial Award, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship; Jared Johancen: Most Improved in Statistics, Gerald & Edward McGowan Memorial Award; Laura Kahler: Warwick Community Scholarship; Mya Lewis: George A. Warner Award, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship; Peter Loud: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Silver “P” Award from the National Honor Society, Excellence in French 5, Panther Spirit Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship; Maelin Manning: Pioneer Valley Regional School Instrumental Music Award; Connor McHaffie: Principal’s Award, Excellence in Music (Piano and Guitar), John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Owen Clarke Foundation Award; Levi Moran: Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship; Shaelyn Mullen: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science; Caroline Ring: Anita L. Pike Memorial Scholarship, Makenzie Goode Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Warwick Community Scholarship, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Ned Green Scholarship; Ella Rowan-Decker: Excellence in English 12, Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Cathy Hawkins-Harrison Music Service Award in Band, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship; Patrick Russell: Most Improved in Chemistry; Avery Sargent: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Excellence in AP Environmental Science, Outstanding Achievement in French 5, Abigail Stratton Award, Abigail Stratton Scholarship, Kathryn Bassett Memorial Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Kelseigh Sargent: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Outstanding Achievement in French 5, Abigail Stratton Award, Abigail Stratton Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Lucia Saviano: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Outstanding Achievement in Human Behavior, Alfred Orlens Citizenship Award, Foundation for Educational Excellence Robert S. Coy Art Award; Mya Shattuck: Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship. Thomas J. Hurley Nurse’s Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Matthew Singh: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Emlen H. Jones Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club; James Staelens: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Sofia Walker: Excellence in Spanish, Dr Sarah Kemble Memorial Scholarship, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Northfield Fire Department Floyd M. Dunnell Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship; Ryan Wyngowski: John and Abigail Adams Scholarship in MCAS Mastery in English, Mathematics & Science, Excellence in Personal Finance, Outstanding Achievement in AP Calculus, Silver “P” Award from the National Honor Society, Foundation for Educational Excellence & Greenfield Cooperative Bank Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Scholarship.

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