Pioneer graduates 40 in ceremony at Northfield Drive-In

  • Jasmin Delgado picks up her diploma with her picture on the big screen at the Northfield Drive-In during Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation on Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Richie Kane holds his niece, Ellie Lou Pearson, at the Northfield Drive-In before Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation ceremony Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jordin Hubbard and her fellow seniors file into the Northfield Drive-In for graduation from Pioneer Valley Regional School Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Aaron Davis graduates with his image on the big screen at the Northfield Drive-In during Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation on Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Valedictorian Ella Potee addresses those gathered at the Northfield Drive-In for Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation on Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • A huge American flag hangs from the Northfield ladder truck as Pioneer Valley Regional School seniors parade from the Pioneer campus to the Northfield Drive-In for graduation on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School seniors parade from the Pioneer campus to the Northfield Drive-In for graduation on Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Morgan Louder, Zara Hervieux, Alyssa Martin and Stephanie Mercorelli pose for a picture at the Northfield Drive-In during Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation on Monday evening. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • From left, seniors Cierra Buzzell, Ella Potee, Anneka Johnson and Jordin Hubbard pose for a picture at the Northfield Drive-In before Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Graduates and their families drive into the Northfield Drive-In for Pioneer Valley Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2020 1:00:32 AM

NORTHFIELD — The 40 members of Pioneer Valley Regional School’s Class of 2020 were the stars of the show at the Northfield Drive-In Monday night, during a unique yet fairly traditional graduation ceremony where speakers encouraged graduates to stay true to their values, and use their knowledge to create change in the world.

Escorted by the Northfield Police Department, a student caravan began at Pioneer and traveled along Route 63, where the Northfield Fire Department flew a large American flag from its ladder truck. Scattered all the way to the New Hampshire state line, proud neighbors and family members held signs of congratulations as they cheered for the graduates who passed by on their way to the drive-in.

“You guys have reached this incredible threshold in your life,” Pioneer social studies teacher and alumnus Matthew Killeen told the graduates. “Before this, you were high school students, and in a few minutes you’re going to be whatever you want.”

While graduation is a celebration, Killeen said it is OK to mourn the lack of traditional closure that comes with a senior spring. He said students have had to grow up quickly as they live through changes in the school district, a public health crisis and active protests against racial inequality and police brutality.

“Our times demand much from you, but you are ready,” Killeen said.

Pioneer Principal Kevin Burke encouraged students to be a part of the hope in the world. He referenced the song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, saying it sends a message that even though there may be hatred and violence throughout, our world is still beautiful. He said Armstrong’s words, “It ain’t the world that’s so bad, but what we’re doing to it,” ring true today as we face a world-wide pandemic and fight against racial inequality and police brutality.

Each diploma given out on Monday, Burke said, is a symbol of the priceless knowledge and values the students gained at Pioneer.

“Stay true to those values, and stay true to yourself,” he said. “Use your knowledge to create change and enhance the wonders of our world.”

Valedictorian, National Honor Society member and Student Council representative Ella Potee said the Class of 2020 is a part of history. The class represents the generation born into turmoil after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Then, in the face of crises, students marched against gun violence, led climate strikes and stood in solidarity against social injustice.

“We started high school during a time of major political shift and division,” she said. “Now we graduate in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Potee said she never thought the year would end with her “gazing out onto a field of headlights” instead of speaking to smiling faces. Despite the impact it had on their senior year, Potee said she and her fellow graduates would not be defined as the Class of COVID-19.

“We are the class of rowdy sports games, loud pep-rallies, sweaty marching band parades and karaoke in AP calculus,” Potee said. “We are a class of musicians, of athletes, dancers, gym rats, activists, video gamers, scholars, artists and friends.”

Senior Jordin Hubbard created a video that was shared on the big screen at the Northfield Drive-In. Seniors cheered for, and laughed at, the school photos, baby photos, and videos that highlighted their time together at Pioneer. The evening concluded with a fireworks display set to the senior class song, “Rise Up” by Andra Day.

The graduation ceremony was livestreamed and filmed by Bernardston Northfield Community Television, and can be viewed at bnctv.net or on the BNCTV Facebook page.

Graduates

Rachael Mae Abbey, Delaney Rosalie Archer, Celina Rose Balzer, Brian David Bodenstein, Colyn Michael Brechenser, Ashley Lillian Brennan, Abigail Marie Briggs, Cierra Morgan Buzzell, Dylan Alexander Carmody, Aaron Michael Davis, Jasmin Destini Delgado, Athena Rose Fowler-Shaw, Jennifer Anne Fuller, McKayla Amber Glazier, Zara Ann Hervieux, Noah Richard Horton, Jordin Nicole Hubbard, Sierra Lynn Jobst, Gavin William Mielke Johnson, Anneka Rae Johnson, Richard William Kane, Valerie Anna Kasper, Noah Patrick Keith, Aliyah Lynn Kimball, Shelby Grace Kosterman, Morgan Sarah Hartford Lounder, Alyssa Catherine Martin, Samantha Grace Martinez, Stephanie Madison Mercorelli, Sarah Lynne Podlesney, Ella Hopkins Potee, Logan Maitland Pratt, Jacob David Quinn, Stephanie Francis Scoville, Warren Charles Shedd, Jasmine Nicole Terounzo, Julian James Trenholm, Sydney Anne Unaitis, Lily Alyse Walker and Katie Robbin Wheeler.

Awards and scholarships

Rachael Abbey: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Outstanding Achievement for Teaching Assistant in Anatomy & Physiology, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Foundation for Educational Excellence & The Greenfield Cooperative Bank Scholarship, Foundation for Educational Excellence Richard Martin Theatre Award, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Delaney Archer: Excellence in Chorus, Cathy Hawkins-Harrison Music Service Award in Chorus.

Celina Balzer: Excellence in Advanced Placement Calculus, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Kevin J. Courtney Scholarship, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Brian Bodenstein: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Abigail Stratton Award.

Ashley Brennan: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society.

Abigail Briggs: Excellence in High School Band.

Cierra Buzzell: Excellence in Introduction to Medicine, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Evelyn G. Lawley Award.

Dylan Carmody: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Outstanding Achievement in Physics, Excellence in Statistics.

Aaron Davis: Excellence in Vocational Training.

Jasmin Delgado: Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship.

Athena Fowler-Shaw: Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Placement Literature, John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Senior TAB Leader Award in Training Active Bystanders, Most Improved in Advanced Placement Calculus, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Outstanding Achievement in Human Behavior, Kathryn Bassett Memorial Award, Leonard Bruno Memorial Scholarship, Gov. Phil Hoff Vermont Honor Scholarship, Grover/Barnes Award, PVRS National Honor Society Scholarship.

Jennifer Fuller: Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Excellence in Anatomy & Physiology, Fortnightly Scholarship, Grover/Barnes Award, Northfield Fire Department Floyd M. Dunnell Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club Walter F. Asseng Memorial Scholarship, Abigail Stratton Award, Abigail Stratton Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Women of the Moose Scholarship.

Zara Hervieux: Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, George A. Warner Award.

Noah Horton: Excellence in Intercultural Foods.

Jordin Hubbard: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Placement Calculus, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Excellence in Human Behavior, Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Bernardston Veterans’ Organization Scholarship, Leonard Eastman Award, French Club Scholarship, Ned Green Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Sierra Jobst: Senior TAB Leader Award in Training Active Bystanders, Most Improved in Introduction to Medicine, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Gerald & Edward McGowan Memorial Award.

Anneka Johnson: Excellence in Nutrition & Foods, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation Scholarship.

Gavin Johnson: Excellence in Advanced Art, Foundation for Educational Excellence Robert S. Coy Art Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Instrumental Music Award.

Richard Kane: Owen Clarke Foundation Scholarship, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Principal’s Award.

Valerie Kasper: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Senior TAB Leader Award in Training Active Bystanders, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Ethel F. Jackson Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, A.K. Warner Fund Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Shelby Kosterman: Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Morgan Lounder: Alice, Eric & Oscar Anderson Scholarship, Anita L. Pike Memorial Scholarship.

Alyssa Martin: Salutatorian, Outstanding Achievement in English 12, John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Outstanding Achievement in Physics, Excellence in Nutrition & Foods, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Fortnightly Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club Jonathan (Jake) Mayberry Scholarship, Tyler Family Memorial Award, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Stephanie Mercorelli: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Outstanding Achievement in Emergency Care, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Cathy Hawkins-Harrison Music Service Award in Band.

Sarah Podlesney: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Dean Beaudoin Memorial Scholarship, Alfred Orlens Citizenship Award, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Ella Potee: Valedictorian, John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Senior TAB Leader Award in Training Active Bystanders, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Most Improved in High School Band, Better Business Bureau Barbara J. Sinnott Student of Integrity Scholarship, Kathy Bonnett Memorial Award, Northfield Kiwanis Club F. Sumner Turner Scholarship, Principal’s Award, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Lucy Wilder Memorial Humanitarian Award.

Logan Pratt: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery.

Jacob Quinn: Northfield Fire Department Floyd M. Dunnell Jr. Memorial Scholarship, Pioneer Valley Regional School Scholarship, Fred R. Whitcomb Scholarship.

Stephanie Scoville: Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Fortnightly Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Thaddeus M. Ostrowski Memorial Award, Jason Peters Memorial Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Warren Shedd: Owen Clarke Foundation Award, PVRS Student Council Scholarship.

Jasmine Terounzo: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Senior TAB Leader Award in Training Active Bystanders, Outstanding Achievement in Spanish, Silver “P” Award for National Honor Society, Excellence in Human Behavior, Stephen F. Balk Award, Fortnightly Scholarship, Thomas J. Hurley Nurses’ Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship, Women of the Moose Scholarship.

Julian Trenholm: Bernardston Kiwanis Club Scholarship, Theodore Cronyn Award, George A. Warner Fund Scholarship, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Sydney Unaitis: John & Abigail Adams Scholarship for MCAS Mastery, Makenzie Goode Memorial Athletic Scholarship, Sarah Kemble Scholarship Award, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.

Katie Wheeler: Fortnightly Scholarship, John A. Hogan Memorial Scholarship, Northfield Kiwanis Club, Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship.




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