Mohawk Trail grads: On to something new and exciting

  • Mohawk Trail Regional School graduated 63 students Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Anthony Kwame Harrison, Mohawk Trail Regional School Class of 1988, gave the school’s commencement address. To speak at his own school was a “rare privilege,” he said. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2019 12:10:18 AM

BUCKLAND — The graduating class of 63 students filed into the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance” at Mohawk Trail Regional School’s commencement Sunday. 

Co-Principal Lynn Dole initiated the ceremony, and Salutatorian Jackson Hicks gave a speech focusing on learning to appreciate the present moment, with its apparent imperfections, despite the hopes and expectations for the future.

"With the end of high school comes something new and exciting,” Hicks said. “But if you look too far in front of you, you’ll lose sight of where you are.”

“Maybe you do not want to be in these seats today, in front of hundreds of people. But shouldn’t you appreciate that you’ve finished high school? Hicks said.

The commencement speaker was Anthony Kwame Harrison, a 1988 graduate from Mohawk Trail, now a professor in the sociology department of Virginia Tech.

Harrison was born in Ghana, and was brought to western Franklin County just before his first birthday, he said. Despite the differences from Ghana, his mother decided to stay, “because she said it looked like a good place to raise kids. In fact, it was a great place to raise kids,” he said.

Harrison spoke about how the experiences and connections he made at Mohawk Trail influenced his life into his adulthood. As a student at UMass Amherst, he at first felt divided between his friends from Mohawk Trail, mostly white, and new friends, mostly black — then realized that he didn’t have to divide them.

When Harrison moved to San Francisco in 2000, he stayed with a friend from Mohawk Trail until he could find a place to live. He found work at a record store. One day a group came in and he instantly recognized them as Mohawk Trail graduates.

“There's something about this community and this school that makes lasting friendships,” Harrison said. “As you travel, as you leave, you will come to appreciate how special this place is. … Don’t lose your connection to each other. Don’t lose your connection to this place.”


Taylor Lashea Ball, Amber MariaRose Barbeau, Brenden James Beckwith, Adam Morris Benjamin, Makeda Imani Bergmark, Mason Lee Biagini, Bennett Martin Boucias, Kayleigh Marie Brown, Rachael Cairns, Molly Jane Clark, Sarah Maecen Cole, Meghan Rose Davis (Valedictorian), Jack Andrew Farrar, Nyah Moon Forth, Brian Alexander Gagnon, Walker Daniel Gibson, Grace Hannah Gokey, Aidan William Gougeon, Jordan Joseph Grenier, William Herbert Guyette, Julia Marie Hager, Spencer James Hayes, Peyton Elizabeth Hayward, Jackson Robert Hicks (Salutatorian), Jaydon Joshua Murray Hoff-Christian, Tori May Jarvis, Caitlin Nicole Johnston, Scott Anthony Kugler, Triston James LaCross, Erin Laine Ana Laffond, Norma Raine Leue, Kayla Marie Martin, Julia Mary Massey, Joshua Benjamin Matthews, Reality Grace McCallister, Casey Millane, Jorge Aramis Morales-Burgos, Samuel Sloan Nelson, Melissa Mae Purinton, Ashley Nicole Reynolds, Jordan Sierra Rice, Guy McMillen Rice-Lesure, Mae Margaret Rice-Lesure, Zachary Cody Richardson, Andrew Robertson, Morgan Taylor Roccio, Brandon Chase Root, Elliot Grey Sargent, Raven Sauceda, Gabriella Delena Shean, Nicolas Sinaiko, Shelby Elisabeth Sinistore, Summer Alexi Sookey, London Sean Summers, Kyra Marie Turner, Ethan Daniel Tuttman, Julia May Ussailis, Nicolas Vera Arrasate, Ryan Andrew Walker, Daniel Joseph White, Lily Ann Wickland Shearer (Valedictorian), Taylor Noelle Williams and Ashley Paige Winstead.

Scholarships and awards

Doug Turner Memorial Scholarship ($1,000): Bennet Boucias, Meghan Davis, Jackson Hicks and Shelby Sinistore.

Mohawk Athletic Association Scholarship in Memory of Samuel Howell Sylvester ($500): Bennett Boucias.

Mohawk Athletic Association Scholarship in Memory of Terri Scott Ferraguto ($500): Meghan Davis and William Guyette.

Mohawk Athletic Association Scholarship in Memory of Chuck Miner ($500): Ashley Reynolds.

Phillip C. Toy Memorial Scholarship ($150): Guy Rice-Lesure and Mae Rice-Lesure.

William C. Pollard Memorial Scholarship ($400): Mason Biagini and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club Stan Smithers Scholarship ($500): Lily Wickland Shearer.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club Memorial Scholarship ($500): Jordan Rice.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club Allan Willis Memorial Scholarship ($500): William Guyette.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Club Philip R. Joyce Scholarship ($500): Ashley Reynolds.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Key Club Scholarship ($500): Tori Jarvis.

Shelburne Falls Kiwanis Rolland Gifford Memorial Scholarship ($500): Julia Massey.

Griffin Joseph Kearney Scholarship: Nyah Forth and Casey Millane.

Ian Fletcher Lynch Spirit of the River Scholarship: Mason Biagini.

Friends of Robert Strong Woodward Inc. Scholarship ($300): Peyton Hayward.

Summer R. Steele Memorial Scholarship ($1,000): Jordan Rice.

Francis R. Crosier Memorial Scholarship ($5,000): Shelby Sinistore.

Dennis Bushey Memorial Scholarship ($500): Mae Rice-Lesure.

Edgar Walter Martin II Memorial Scholarship: Jackson Hicks and London Summers, $1,000; Shelby Sinistore and Lily Wickland Shearer, $500.

Robert Bruffee Athletic Memorial Scholarship ($500): Jackson Hicks and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Larry Rancourt Scholarship ($1,000): William Guyette.

Dr. John B. and Lillian C. Temple Memorial Scholarship ($2,000): Ashley Reynolds.

Keith G. Billiel Memorial Scholarship ($300): Melissa Purinton.

Deane Jones Memorial Award from Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls ($1,000): London Summers.

Earl L. Valiton Memorial Scholarship ($500): William Guyette.

Ashfield Rod & Gun Club Scholarship ($500): Guy Rice-Lesure.

Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School PTO Scholarship ($250): William Guyette and Jackson Hicks.

Arms Academy Class of 1963 Scholarship ($1,000): William Guyette and London Summers.

American Legion Auxiliary District Educational Award ($200): Melissa Purinton.

Kelly M. Broughan Memorial Scholarship ($300): Nyah Forth.

Trustees of Arms Academy Scholarship: Grace Gokey, William Guyette and Jackson Hicks, $5,000; Bennett Boucias and Brian Gagnon, $3,500: Melissa Purinton and London Summers, $3,000.

Charles White Scholarship ($1,500): Peyton Hayward.

Trustees of Sanderson Academy Scholarship ($500): Mason Biagini, Tori Jarvis, Triston LaCross, Mae Rice-Lesure and Andrew Robertson.

Trustees of Sanderson Academy Scholarship/Wayne Phillips Memorial Scholarship ($500): Guy Rice-Lesure.

Colrain Central PTO Scholarship ($500): Nyah Forth and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Cowell Fund Award ($1,500): Joshua Matthews.

Mohawk District Education Association Scholarship: Nyah Forth and Lily Wickland Shearer, $200; Grace Gokey, Julia Hager and Mae Rice-Lesure, $100.

Mohawk District Education Association/Mohawk Building Scholarship ($200): Tori Jarvis.

Mohawk District Education Association/Warren Davenport Memorial Scholarship ($100): London Summers.

Arms Academy Scholarship Fund Trust Scholarship ($1,200): Bennett Boucias, Nyah Forth, Julia Hager, Jackson Hicks, Tori Jarvis, Melissa Purinton, Mae Rice-Lesure, Andrew Robertson, Shelby Sinistore, Lily Wickland Shearer and London Summers.

Ruth and Alfred Carpenter Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund ($500): Mason Biagini and Meghan Davis.

Charlemont Alumni Scholarship ($500): Ashley Reynolds.

Heath Ladies Aid Scholarship ($200): Caitlyn Johnston and Taylor Williams.

Helen E. Long Memorial Scholarship ($2,000): Guy Rice-Lesure.

Class of 1959 Scholarship ($200): Melissa Purinton.

Colrain Community Church Scholarship: Lily Wickland Shearer, $450; Nyah Forth, $150.

Carl H. Nilman Scholarship: Makeda Bergmark, Mason Biagini, Bennett Boucias, Nyah Forth, Grace Gokey, Jackson Hicks, Tori Jarvis, Erin Laffond, Ashley Reynolds, Guy Rice-Lesure, Mae Rice-Lesure, Andrew Robertson, Shelby Sinistore, London Summers, Daniel White and Lily Wickland Shearer, $600; Brian Gagnon, William Guyette, Peyton Hayward and Jordan Rice, $500.

Women of the Moose, Chapter 316 Scholarship ($100): Meghan Davis, Jackson Hicks and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Mohawk Music Association Scholarship: Makeda Bergmark, Julia Ussailis and Lily Wickland Shearer, $500; Guy Rice-Lesure, $300.

Shelburne Falls Women’s Club Scholarship ($400): Jackson Hicks, Jordan Rice, Mae Rice-Lesure and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Shelburne Falls Fraternal Order of Eagles Scholarship ($1,000): Meghan Davis, Shelby Sinistore and Lily Wickland Shearer.

Shelburne Falls Eagles Auxiliary Scholarship ($250): Julia Massey and Ashley Reynolds.

Three County Fair Scholarship ($500): Shelby Sinistore.

Franklin First Federal Credit Union/Ari Brown-Weeks Scholarship ($1,000): Jackson Hicks.

Franklin First Federal Credit Union Scholarship ($1,000): Bennett Boucias.

Shelburne Falls Military Band Scholarship ($200): Andrew Robertson.

Don Maynard Memorial Scholarship ($500): Jackson Hicks.

Maude Frances Children’s Fund Scholarship: London Summers, $4,400; Reality McCallister, $4,000.

Knights of Columbus Greenfield Council 133 Scholarship ($1,000): Jackson Hicks.

Dr. Sarah Kemble Scholarship Award ($1,000): Nyah Forth and Jackson Hicks.

Greenfield Lodge of Elks, A.R. Sandri, C.E. Ulrich, Whitman Russell Memorial Scholarship ($1,000): Shelby Sinistore.

Ashfield Citizen’s Scholarship and Community Fund “Fall Festival Fund”: Norma Leue, Guy Rice-Lesure, Mae Rice-Lesure and Julia Ussailis, $800; Samuel Nelson and Andrew Robertson, $750; Mason Biagini, $600.

Ashfield Citizen’s Scholarship and Community Fund “Van Valkenburg Scholarship Fund” ($1,000): Mason Biagini, Samuel Nelson, Guy Rice-Lesure, Mae Rice-Lesure, Andrew Robertson and Julia Ussailis.

Hillside Agricultural Society Scholarship ($500): Jackson Hicks and Shelby Sinistore.

Pioneer Valley Kennel Club ($1,000): Shelby Sinistore.

Fred W. Wells Fund Scholarship: Mason Biagini, Bennett Boucias, Grace Gokey, William Guyette, Peyton Hayward, Jackson Hicks, Erin Laffond, Norma Leue, Ashley Reynolds, Jordan Rice, Mae Rice-Lesure, Andrew Robertson, Shelby Sinistore, London Summers, Daniel White and Taylor Williams.

John and Abigail Adams Scholarship: Adam Benjamin, Mason Biagini, Bennet Boucias, Molly Clark, Meghan Davis, Walker Gibson, Grace Gokey, William Guyette, Jackson Hicks, Tori Jarvis, Erin Laffond, Samuel Nelson, Jordan Rice, Mae Rice-Lesure, Andrew Robertson, Gabriella Shean, Shelby Sinistore, Summer Sookey, Daniel White and Lily Wickland Shearer.

D.A.R. Good Citizens Award: Meghan Davis.

Pratt Prize Award ($1,500): Meghan Davis and Lily Wickland Shearer.


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