Individualized ceremonies to be edited into video of Mohawk Trail Regional School’s graduation

  • Family members and friends had to follow social distancing guidelines at Mohawk Trail Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Valedictorian Natalie Szewczyk speaks at Mohawk Trail Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Interim Superintendent Pat Bell speaks at Mohawk Trail Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Salutatorian Zane Kitchen Lipski waits to speak at Mohawk Trail Regional School’s graduation ceremony on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/1/2020 6:13:34 PM

BUCKLAND — While it might be traditional for a speaker to thank everyone who attends a graduation ceremony, in a socially distant commencement on Sunday, Mohawk Trail Regional School Salutatorian Zane Kitchen Lipski thanked those who had stayed home.

“Ask not what your country can do for you,” Kitchen Lipski said, citing former President John F. Kennedy’s maxim. “Ask what you can do for your country.”

Like other graduations this year, Mohawk Trail Regional School’s ceremony had to be re-thought to conform with the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was held outside on the school’s front lawn.

Throughout the day, groups of no more than five students at a time arrived in 30-minute blocks to receive their diplomas and awards. Instead of having a large audience, Falls Cable workers filmed the whole event, later to be edited into a single video graduation.

Early in the morning, speeches were given by Principal Marisa Mendonsa, Interim Superintendent Pat Bell, Greenfield Middle School Assistant Principal and former Mohawk Trail teacher Mike Browning, as well as Kitchen Lipski and Valedictorian Natalie Szewczyk.

The students’ speeches touched on similar points — that high school is a journey, that its effect on our personalities is huge, that it contained funny moments (Szewczyk made special reference to a classmate’s phone “accidentally” calling 911 in the middle of statistics), that it flew by.

But, as they acknowledged the state of the world they are headed into, both were less sentimental and more stoic.

Szewczyk reflected on her class’ disappointed expectations: “We watched every class before us dress up for prom, have their senior barbecue, sit through their senior awards night, all leading up to finally graduating with their classmates, as all their family and friends watched from the bleachers.

“We didn’t get a prom and senior awards night and graduation with all our friends and family,” she said. “And it sucks. But that’s life. It’s crazy and it’s unpredictable, and within it there are things simply out of our control.”

Graduates

Zakaria Abdelgawad, Gabrielle Bailey, Alison Blakeslee, Ethan Bower, Leyla Bragdon, Tyler Broughton, Ryan Burke, Jessica Choiniere, Troy Clark, Kianna Coleman, Ryan Cook, Carli Cusimano, Christina Deraway, Aidan Duncan, Reagan DuPree, Jasmine Evans, Cheyenne Fuller, Guiseppi Galvagni, Robert Goodell, Erykka Henry, Jared Jacobs, Toren Johnson, Jaden Kitchen Lipski, Zane Kitchen Lipski, Sienna Lewis, Barrett Liebermann, Chrizza Mae Marcial, Zia Meyer, Anthony Moffatt, Isis Moon, Molly Musante, Caleb Patnode, Logan Platek, Grace Poplawski, Ella Seward, Evan Shippee, Shane Slattery, Jonathan Smith, Maxwell Summers, Natalie Szewczyk, Corey Taylor, Destany Tobin, Cassidy Upton, Lillian VanVleet, Elizabeth Vight and Jada Yuryan.

Senior Department Awards

Aidan “Pete” Duncan: Bunker Martin Award.

Alison Blakeslee: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department, Outstanding Leader in Select Chorus, Julie Andrews Award for Outstanding Theatrical Performance and Dedication, Writing — English.

Anthony Moffatt: Male Most Outstanding Athlete, most improved guitar player in the Mohawk Trail Music Department.

Barrett Leibermann: French Senior.

Caleb Patnode: Best Composer in the Mohawk Trail Music Department.

Carli Cusimano: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department.

Cassidy Upton: French Senior, French Teacher’s Assistant.

Chrizza Mae Marcial: French Senior, French Teacher’s Assistant.

Ella Seward: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department, French Senior.

Erykka Henry: French Teacher’s Assistant.

Grace Poplawski: Excellence in English, Excellence in Mathematics — Honors Personal Finance, Female Most Outstanding Athlete.

Isis Moon: Mala Murray athletic award.

Jaden Kitchen Lipski: Bobby Wells Award, M3Challenge Participation.

Jessica Choiniere: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department.

Jessica Choiniere: Outstanding Leader in Concert Chorus, Mohawk Trail Spirit Singing Award.

Leyla Bragdon: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department.

Leyla Bragdon: French Senior.

Lillian Vanvleet: M3Challenge Participation.

Molly Musante: French Senior.

Natalie Szewczyk: Excellence in Mathematics — Honors Stats, Excellence in Mathematics — Calculus, M3Challenge Participation.

Reagan Dupree: Excellence in Mathematics — Honors Stats, Excellence in Mathematics — Pre-calculus, Mala Murray athletics award.

Ryan Burke: Excellence in Mathematics — Honors Personal Finance.

Siena Lewis: Excellence in Spanish, Initiative — English, Lisa Burdick Award.

Zane Kitchen Lipski: Bobby Wells Award, M3Challenge Participation.

Zia Meyer: 4 years of singing, service and dedication to the Mohawk Trail Music Department, Most Devoted Singer in Concert and Select Chorus, Director’s Award of Excellence.

Scholarships

Natalie Szewczyk: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Ashfield Citizen Scholarship & Community Fund, $750; Mohawk Music Association, $300; Sanderson Academy Scholarship, $500; Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club Scholarship, $400; Van Valkenburg Scholarship, $2,000; Pratt Prize, $1,500; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200.

Zane Kitchen Lipski: Gordy VanGuilder Family Scholarship, $5,000.

Alison Blakeslee: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Charlemont Alumni Scholarship, $500; Mohawk Music Association, $500; Shelburne Falls Eagles Auxillary, $250; Kiwanis Club, Stan Smithers Memorial Scholarship, $500; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Ryan Burke: Arms Academy Class of 1963 Scholarship, $1,000; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed); Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200.

Jessica Choiniere: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Edgar Walter Martin II Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Mohawk Music Association, $400; Nina Noga Memorial Scholarship, $150; REAM/Ethel Raymond Orcutt, $1,000; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Cheyenne Fuller: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Edgar Walter Martin II Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Mohawk Music Association, $400; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200.

Reagan DuPree: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Dennis M. Bushey Memorial Scholarship, $500; Franklin First Federal Credit Union Scholarship, $1,000; Nina Noga Memorial Scholarship, $150; Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club Scholarship, $400; Doug Turner Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Pratt Prize, $1,500; Summer R. Steele Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; MDEA/Mohawk Building Scholarship, $100; MDEA/Warren Davenport Memorial Scholarship, $100; William C. Pollard Memorial Scholarship, $200; Mohawk Athletic Association Chuck Strong Memorial Scholarship, $500; Key Club Scholarship, $500; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Sienna Lewis: Arms Academy Fund, $5,000, Eagles Athletic Scholarship, $1,000.

Zia Meyer: Mohawk Music Association, $500.

Anthony Moffatt: Arms Academy Fund, $5,000, Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Earl L. Valiton Memorial Scholarship, $500; William C. Pollard Memorial Scholarship, $200; Kiwanis Club Memorial, Allan Willis Scholarship, $500.

Isis Moon: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Eagles Athletic Scholarship, $1,000; Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club Scholarship, $400; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Molly Musante: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Charles E. White Scholarship, $1,500; Mohawk District Education Association Scholarship, $200.

Grace Poplawski: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Eagles Athletic Scholarship, $1,000; Helen E. Long Memorial Scholarship, $2,000; Franklin County Bar Association Scholarship, $1,000; Mohawk District Education Association Scholarship, $200; Ian Fletcher Lynch Spirit of the River Scholarship, $500; Mohawk Athletic Association Chuck Strong Memorial Scholarship, $500; Kiwanis Club Philip R. Joyce Memorial Scholarship, $500; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Ella Seward: Arms Academy Fund, $5,000: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Mohawk Music Association, $400; Student Representative to the Mary Lyon Foundation, $100; Shelburne Falls Woman’s Club Scholarship, $400; John B. & Lillian C. Temple Memorial Scholarship, $2,000; Women of the Moose Scholarship, $100; Mohawk District Education Association Scholarship, $200; Kiwanis Club Rolland Gifford Memorial Scholarship, $500; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Evan Shippee: Arms Academy Fund Trust, $1,200; Colrain Community Church Scholarship, $100; Larry Rancourt Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club Memorial Scholarship, $500; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,000; Mohawk Athletic Association Samuel Howell Sylvester Memorial Scholarship, $500; Fred Wells Fund Scholarship (info to be mailed).

Maxwell Summers: Arms Academy Class of 1959 Scholarship, $200; Cowell Fund Award, $1,500; Edgar Walter Martin II Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Carl H. Nilman Scholarship, $1,200.

Lillian VanVleet: Student Representative to the Mary Lyon Foundation, $100; From the Heart Award, $500; Phillip C. Toy Memorial Scholarship, $300.

Jada Yuryan: Gertrude Streeter Award, $100 check and $500 in reimbursements for books or the equivalent used to support education after high school.


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