Turners Falls High School says goodbye to Class of 2020

  • Turners Falls High School Valedictorian Joseph Kochan addresses those gathered on the football field for graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 walks to the graduation ceremony Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 walks to the graduation ceremony Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School Salutatorian Brody Trott addresses those gathered on the football field for graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School Class President Anthony Peterson addresses those gathered on the football field for graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Friends and family members gather for the Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 gathers on the football field for graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 portraits on display at graduation Friday night. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/24/2020 8:44:33 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Standing in front of his peers, who wore masks and were seated in chairs spaced 6 feet apart, Turners Falls High School graduate Anthony Peterson said he may have been disappointed with how his senior year turned out, but he wasn’t discouraged.

“Being disappointed is one thing, and being discouraged is something else,” Peterson said, quoting playwright Tennessee Williams. “On March 13, our senior year came to an end. We weren’t going to have the typical ending that previous graduating classes had, and for that, I am disappointed.”

At the graduation ceremony on Friday evening, the senior class president told his peers they shouldn’t be discouraged either.

“I want to celebrate what we accomplished,” he said.

Seated in the chairs before him, there was an Eagle Scout, he said. There were actors and actresses, National Honor Society students, acclaimed athletes and state champions.

“Every single member of the 2020 class should be proud of what we accomplished here at Turners Falls High School,” Peterson said.

Friday’s commencement began at 6 p.m. on the Turners Falls High School football field. Chairs on the field were spaced 6 feet apart, and bleachers were also marked to allow for social distancing between guests. In accordance with the state mandates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was expected to wear a facial covering.

“I think it was worth the wait to hold (the ceremony) this way,” said Salutatorian Brody Trott, acknowledging modified commencement ceremonies in other towns.

He reflected on his first year as a student, 12 years ago.

“Graduation seemed so far away,” Trott said. “It’s hard to believe we are already here.”

Outgoing Superintendent Michael Sullivan congratulated the students on Friday, many of whom he had been in the Gill-Montague Regional School District with since they were in fifth grade.

“You’ve distinguished yourselves … not just for your academic accomplishments, but also for your achievements in athletics and citizenship,” Sullivan said. “You are known to be a class of integrity and kindness.”

He also thanked the students for their perseverance, resilience and maturity during the usual end to the school year.

“You adjusted well to the remote learning situation, and you made the best of losing out on so many of the events that make the last semester of high school memorable and enjoyable,” Sullivan said.

The occasion, Sullivan said, served for him to let the students in on “a secret.”

“No one else has the answer to your most challenging questions,” he advised. “You will need to figure things out for yourself, because more often than not, your wisdom and your instincts and your inner voice will need to be your compass.”

If the district has done its job well, he added, students will use the tools they’ve been given — an analytical mind, a curious heart and a collaborative spirit — to find their way in whatever their next step is.


Jaeden Anthony Ausikaitis, Spencer Logan Blair, Hailey Elizabeth Bogusz, Cameron Andrew Bradley, Jakob Joseph Burnett, Christina Eliza Caswell, Chelsea Katelyn Curtis, Liam Patrick Driscoll, Kody Andrew Fisher, Karissa Morgan Fleming, Elijah James Forcier, Alexandrea Rose Francis, Jonathon Patrick Fritz, Joshua William Gaulin, Josy Lyn Hunter, Tracey Jay Johnson, Eliza Cate Johnson, Shelby Elizabeth Jordan, Joseph William Kochan, Trevor Jeffrey Lapinski, Zacheria Charles Leighton, Jordan Myles Llewlyn, Korey John Martineau, Zachary Allen Mason, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Miner, Chantelle Makenzie Monaghan, Alyson Kendall Murphy, Brian Patrick Murphy, Anthony Thomas Peterson, Brian Daniel Poirier, Edward Joseph Reipold, Dabney Sinclaire Rollins, Anastasia Romashka, Lyuba Sankova, Jakob Aaron Shearer, Emily Alana Sisson, Journey Leigh Smalls, Lucy Willo Spera, Jaclyn Rene Thibeault, Brody Ira Conrad Trott, Luis Thomas Vinton, Abigail Marie Waite, Allison Joy Wheeler, Lindsay Arden Whiteman, Mackenna Gwen Whiteman, Jaden Christopher Whiting-Martinez, Lorie Lorraine Wood, Kamara Rose Woodard and Lydia Fay Wright.


Most Valuable Players: Boys Basketball — Anthony Peterson; Girls Basketball — Hailey Bogusz; Basketball and Competition Cheerleading — Kaitlyn Miner; Field Hockey — Alyson Murphy; Football — Liam Driscoll; Football Cheerleading — Emily Sisson; Golf — Brian Poirier; Boys Soccer — Jakob Burnett; Boys Swimming — Cameron Bradley; Girls Swimming — Allison Wheeler; Volleyball — Hailey Bogusz.

Academic and Service Awards: Excellence In Art — Lorie Wood; Excellence in Design Build — Kody Fisher and Luis Vinton; Excellence in Film Editing — Alyson Murphy; Excellence in Filmmaking — Korey Martineau; Excellence in English — Abigail Waite; Excellence in French — Chantelle Monaghan; Excellence in Latin — Korey Martineau; Excellence in Life Science — Josy Hunter; Excellence in Maker Lab — Elijah Forcier; Excellence in Mathematics — Joseph Kochan; Excellence in Physical Education — Jaden Whiting Martinez; Excellence in Physical Education Internship — Eliza Johnson; Excellence in Physical Science — Karissa Fleming; Excellence in Social Studies — Josy Hunter.

President’s Award for Academic Achievement: Abigail Waite, Cameron Bradley, Chantelle Monaghan, Eliza Johnson and Karissa Fleming.

President’s Award for Academic Excellence: Joseph Kochan, Brody Trott, Dabney Rollins, Josey Hunter and Allison Wheeler.

Society of Women Engineers of Boston: Josy Hunter, Dabney Rollins and Isabelle Farrick.

Turners Falls High School American Citizenship Awards: Kaitlyn Miner, Alyson Murphy, Eliza Johnson and Brian Poirier.

Turners Falls High School Service Award: Kaitlyn Miner.

Ellen T. Wrightson Memorial Award: Anthony Peterson.

Turners Falls High School Class of 2020 Scholastic Merit Awards: Joseph Kochan, Brody Trott, Dabney Rollins, Josy Hunter and Allison Wheeler.

Salutatorian Award: Brody Trott.

Valedictorian Award: Joseph Kochan.

Special Recognition Dual Degrees from Turners Falls High School and Greenfield Community College: Allsion Wheeler.

National Honor Society Members: Josy Hunter, Eliza Johnson, Joseph Kochan, Alyson Murphy, Dabney Rollins, Chantelle Monaghan and Allison Wheeler.

Junior Book Awards: Bay Path College Book Award — Audrey O’Keefe; Rensselaer Medal — Isabelle Farrick; Saint Michael’s Book Award — Haley Bastarache and Haleigh Greene; Smith College Book Award — Mercedes Bailey; Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award — Catherine Reynolds; Williams College Book Award — Leah Timberlake.


Anna Garbiel Scholarship: Kaitlyn Miner and Brian Boguz.

Athletic Scholarships: Hailey Bogusz, Kaitlyn Miner, Anthony Peterson and Jaden Whiting-Martinez.

Donald Maynard Scholarship: Josy Hunter.

Edward Brown Memorial Scholarship: Anthony Peterson.

Erving Teachers Association Scholarship: Jakob Burnett and Allison Wheeler.

Erving PTO Scholarship: Allison Wheeler.

Ethel Raymond Orcutt Scholarship: Alyson Murphy.

Thomas W. Merrigan Memorial Scholarship: Joseph Kochan.

Friends of Gill: Alyson Murphy.

Gilmond Lamore Memorial Scholarship: Eliza Johnson and Kaitlyn Miner.

Gill-Montague Education Association Scholarship: Alexandrea Francis.

GMEF Enrichment/Scholarship: Joseph Kochan, Kaitlyn Miner and Abigail Waite.

H. Royer Collins Student Athlete Scholarship: Joseph Kochan.

Harriot E. Tidd Memorial Scholarship: Alyson Murphy.

Madeline J. Carlson Scholarship: Hailey Bogusz, Eliza Johnson, Kaitlyn Miner, Anthony Peterson and Emily Sisson.

Massachusetts Elks Scholarship: Alyson Murphy.

Mery O’Brien Scholarship: Cameron Bradley, Josy Hunter, Alyson Murphy, Brody Trott, Abigail Waite and Allison Wheeler.

Our Lady of Peace Scholarship: Josy Hunter and Eliza Johnson.

Pioneer Valley Kennel Club: Josy Hunter.

REAM Scholarship: Emily Sisson.

The Recorder Scholarship: Anthony Peterson.

Tobin Scholarship: Kaitlyn Miner.

Turners Falls Athletic Club Scholarships: Hailey Bogusz, Alyson Murphy, Joseph Kochan, Eliza Johnson and Kaitlyn Miner.

Turners Falls High School All-Sports Booster Scholarship: Jackob Burnett and Eliza Johnson.

Turners Falls High School Alumni Scholarship: Emily Sisson.

Turners Falls High School Class of 1957 Bernard Plaza Scholarship: Cameron Bradley.

Turners Falls High School Class of 1962 Scholarship: Josy Hunter, Alyson Murphy and Allison Wheeler.

Turners Falls Class of 1964 Sally Ann Geraghty-Livingston Memorial Scholarship: Brody Trott and Abigail Waite.

Turners Falls High School Student Government Service Scholarship: Kaitlyn Miner and Alyson Murphy.

Wells Trust Fund Scholarships: Hailey Bogusz, Cameron Bradley, Josy Hunter, Eliza Johnson, Joseph Kochan, Kaitlyn Miner, Alyson Murphy, Brody Trott and Abigail Waite.

Women’s Club of Turners Falls Scholarship: Hailey Bogusz.

Women of the Moose Chapter 316: Eliza Johnson and Allison Wheeler.


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