Four Rivers grads reflect and celebrate

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates receive their diplomas during the commencement. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates toss their caps after the commencement ceremony Saturday in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Graduate Madeleine “Magsy” Lombard speaks during the Four Rivers Charter School commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates line up to receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates line the stage during the commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates gather with family and friends after the commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Four Rivers Charter School graduates have their photos taken after the commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2019 12:11:07 AM

GREENFIELD — It’s been great, but it’s time to move on. 

With “Hey Ya!” by OutKast replacing the traditional “Pomp & Circumstance,” the 29 members of Four Rivers Charter Public School’s class of 2019 left the stage after graduating Saturday, receiving farewells from faculty and hugs from proud parents. 

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been looking forward to this day,” said Jaida Buchanan, a student speaker at the graduation ceremony. “If you multiply 180 days by 12 years of schooling, you get 2,160. That’s how many days of school have led up to this very moment.”

Memories unique to the class, like starting a weekly banana bread baking contest, or organizing a class camping trip — after the school-sponsored retreat was canceled — were shared by teachers and students. 

Principal Peter Garbus praised the class’s resilience, especially in light of recent events. 

“Resilience, the ability to bounce back, has more to do with community than individual determination,” Garbus. 

Along with the cause to celebrate, there was also cause to mourn at the ceremony. Meaghan Burns, a former Four Rivers students and U.S. Navy corpsman, was killed in a shooting in May. Ursula Snow, a 13-year-old Shelburne resident and student at the school had recently passed away. Snow, who died last Monday following a coma related to an off-road vehicle accident, was mentioned several times by students and staff at the small, tight-knit school. 

Madeleine “Magsy” Lombard, the first student speaker at the event, said the class of 2019’s gift to the school, a pin oak tree planted on school grounds, is dedicated to Snow. 

“One day, the branches of this young pin oak will climb over 100 feet into the sky, encircling our school with cool shade,” Lombard said. “Like the enduring embrace of the pin oak, Ursula’s spirit holds us, softens us, with laughs between classmates, with the wind enlivening the oak’s branches, with the sweet tune on Ms. Durkee’s lips, with displays of gratitude, forgiveness and generosity.”

Graduates

Edwin Anderson, Greenfield; Alouette Batteau, Shelburne Falls; Emily Braverman, New Salem; Grace Brown-Smolensky, Leyden and Greenfield; Jaida Buchanan, Greenfield; Grace Cabral, Conway; Julia Campbell, Shelburne Falls; Teagan Caradaropoli, Greenfield; Sean Clancy, Rowe; Rachel Cobb, Montague; Charles Dean, Shelburne Falls; Sophie Jacobson-Carroll, Greenfield and Turners Falls; Wilson Lewis, Bernardston; Madeleine Lombard, Northampton; Adam Loubsky-Lonergan, Colrain; Quinn Lucas, Conway; Lyra Macek, Shelburne Falls; Eolann McMillan, Plainfield; Tevin Oborne, Chesterfield; Chelsea Parzych, Gill; Cynthia Roy-Clark, Erving; Jayden Skelly, Shelburne Falls; Gavin Slaymaker and Isaac Slaymaker, Turners Falls; Elias Smith, Shelburne Falls; Mica Van Iderstine, New Salem; Robert Walton, Phillipston; Kaari Wonkka, Erving; and Amelia Worden, Greenfield.

Scholarships

Fred W. Wells Scholarships: Alouette Batteau, Grace Cabral, Quinn Lucas and Chelsea Parzych.

Franklin County Bar Association Scholarship ($1,000): Alouette Batteau.

Conway Festival of the Hills Scholarship ($1,000): Grace Cabral.

Tri-County Fair Scholarship ($1,000): Quinn Lucas.

Gill Firefighters Association Scholarship ($500): Chelsea Parzych.


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