Mahar Regional School grads mark ‘the end of one road’

  • Keynote Speaker Reverend Nicholas Malo speaks at graduation at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School seniors during graduation ceremonies in Orange on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Meghan Ward, class secretary, reflects on the class history at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Gareth Gordon-Halpern and Lyndsay Anderson present the class gift of murals painted in the school’s bathrooms at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Graduation ceremonies at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School seniors during graduation ceremonies in Orange on Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2022 8:39:06 PM
Modified: 6/3/2022 8:37:06 PM

ORANGE — Excited regalia-clad seniors waited patiently in two parallel lines, taking selfies and quietly chatting in Ralph C. Mahar Regional School’s gymnasium. It was their big day.

These seniors were about to make one last trek around the outdoor track, accepting their diplomas for graduation at the football field’s end zone. As they walked around the track, families followed the procession, pointing large lenses and iPhone cameras at their respective graduates.

“Today is a day to mark down in history,” Superintendent Elizabeth Teahan-Zielinski said to the crowd gathered Friday. “You all have survived COVID. Face masks, no face masks; remote, in person. It has not been easy for you or your family. You should be proud of that accomplishment.”

Kaitlyn Murray, a member of the Senior Class Cabinet, started off her welcome with a confession about being bad at algebra, but continued with a gracious thank you to teachers and parents.

“Thank you to parents for dealing with our hormones, breakups and everything else,” she went on. She finished her speech with inspirational words to her classmates: “If anyone could move mountains, it would be you.”

Paraprofessional Nick Malo gave the keynote address. He taught attendees two Latin words: “chronos” and “kairos.” Both words mean “time” in different ways. The former means a literal hour of the day, while the latter means a moment of time that marks your life.

“Today is a kairos moment,” he told the graduates.

The class history was presented by Meagan Ward, a member of the graduating class. She recalled entering the school in seventh grade, and meeting new friends.

“We will remember eighth grade for our D.C. trip,” she continued. She remarked on the fundraisers the students participated in, and told a story about making her classmates bring in cans and sell coupon books to raise money for school programs. “We ran the lip sync contest three years in a row during homecoming,” Ward continued.

She also remarked on the complete change of their lives during the pandemic.

“COVID affected our learning,” Ward said, “but it also strengthened our friendships.”

She congratulated the class for planning a junior prom on the football field, despite the COVID-19 health safety restrictions in place.

“I can’t wait to see our bright future,” she concluded.

The class then presented its class gift. Over April break, many students and their families came to the school to paint murals in the bathrooms to leave a lasting mark on the community after they left.

School Committee member Peter Cross also gave a speech to the graduates despite having laryngitis.

“You all have reached the end of one road, and are now beginning a new one,” he said.

The graduates graciously accepted their diplomas with cheers from their families on camping chairs covering the rest of the turf field.

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.


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