Photo Gallery | 2016 Twin Valley Graduation

WHITINGHAM — Just under 30 graduating seniors from Twin Valley Middle High School will part ways, some for the first time in years.

Since elementary school for some, these students have been classmates through the "good" and "bad" times, according to Kirra Courchesne, who gave a valedictorian and welcome speech at TVMHS' graduation on Saturday.

"Thanks for being there through everything, sharing the good times and the bad times, in the classroom and on the court or field. Family forever," Courchesne said in her valedictorian speech.


Another student drew attention to the tight-knit community of their class in his speech. Salutatorian Gavin Sweeter quoted Urban Dictionary's definition of a salutatorian, "the person who missed being valedictorian by a few Grade Point Average points." He added, "a miserable person indeed, second place is just the first loser."

While the audience laughed at Sweeter's remarks, he went on to explain why that definition did not fit him. Despite missing the valedictorian position by "a lot of GPA points," he said his classmates and teachers shaped him toward success

"I did not start my school career off with a bang. I more tripped walking through the door," said Sweeter. "With the help of my fellow classmates they picked me up and got me back on my feet."

Sweeter said what he loved most about his fellow students was their willingness to help one another, no matter the person or problem. He asked his fellow graduating seniors to remember the friendships they gained at Twin Valley High School and to feel that those relationships will remain after earning their diplomas.

Maya Holschuh shakes the hands of those on stage after she receives her diploma.
Maya Holschuh shakes the hands of those on stage after she receives her diploma. (Kristopher Radder Reformer Staff)

Avoiding the "bad" memories, Sweeter brought his class and some faculty back into a state of nostalgia with some fond memories. He noted a "Three Stooges" moment when two Class of 2016 graduating students, Todd Trumble and Kyle Murdock, got stuck in a doorway as they raced out of a classroom. Sweetner also mentioned when Trumble flipped a desk in an attempt to catch a Kit-Kat when the candy bar was thrown short to Trumble by a teacher.

"I've never seen someone put so much effort into catching something," said Sweeter who was joined by the audience in laughter.

Another common love the students expressed in their voices and on their faces was toward their math teacher, Jessica Horton, whom some referred to as "Mom."

"We wanted to thank you for being our mom-away-from-mom, and for also being an amazing teacher, whether you've known us for years or not," said Courchesne.

The students selected Horton as their guest speaker and in her speech she left the Class of 2016 with five points of wisdom: don't be afraid to ask for help; a clean desk makes for a clean mind; never stop learning; explore new places; and do not forget where you came from.

"You'll look at this town with a new perspective when you leave," Horton said.

Horton thanked her students for all the laughs they shared, and assured them they will be missed at TVMHS. She sent her encouragement and signed off her speech with, "love Mom."

Other words of wisdom were given by the TVMHS principal, Thomas Fitzgerald. He encouraged them to "free" their hearts from hatred and their minds of worry, and to live simply and appreciate what is before them. Fitzgerald left the students with the notion that they must find work that matters to them in order for it to matter to someone else.

"All work is important to someone, but the work has to be important to you," said Fitzgerald.

A class gift of a banner with their mascot and class year was presented by Courchesne, class president, along with Kaylea Niles, vice president, and Chad Bernard, president of the Class of 2017.

After all of the students were presented with their diplomas, they met back on stage to be congratulated by a burst of colored confetti and the song, "Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root, that played in the background.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275