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HINSDALE, N.H. — It was appropriate that coming out of 14 months of pandemic, the theme that emerged during the Saturday commencement at Hinsdale High School was change.

“Change is inevitable,” said Leo Marshall, commencement speaker, a substitute teacher at the high school for 11 years. “Go with it. Change makes us all stronger.”

Marshall said he wasn’t able to spend as much time with the seniors this year as in the past because he had to stay home with his daughter, who requires 24-hour attention.

“My daughter needed me,” he said. “So I took the tough decision and retired. I felt like I let you guys down.”

But, he said, he’s known this group of students since they were in second grade.

“A lot has changed since then,” said Marshal. “Over these years I’ve had the incredible pleasure to witness your growth, from children to young adults.”

And even more change is inevitable, said Marshall.

“Everyone you know will tell you things are going to change in your life. And it’s OK. It’s going to happen ... it will happen. Bad things happen in your life, it happens to all of us. One day one of you won’t be here to talk about it. That’s just a fact. Change will happen.”

But, said Marshall, you still have to get up and face change and continue on.

“Deal with it,” he said.

Marshall said it was an honor and a pleasure to see the Class of 2021 grow up “into such fine young adults.”

He urged them to be kind, caring and a good listener.

“Respect that others are different. That different is good, different is OK.”

Class President Olivia Pangelinan, during her welcoming address, said “Throughout the pandemic and all the other hardships we have had to overcome, we all persevered and stayed strong together.”

Hinsdale Middle High School honors 31 graduating seniors on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

Pangelinan said she considered all of her fellow graduates as family, having known each other since pre-school and kindergarten.

“To see all of our growth has truly been a blessing,” she said.

All of the seniors were under a tremendous amount of pressure this past year, she said, and while they might have made mistakes, or had regrets, “Without making mistakes, one will not have learned.”

Arth Patel, salutatorian, thanked teachers, students, parents and school board members, families and friends for helping all of them reach graduation

“Without you all, I’m sure it would not have been so easy for us to be at the biggest event in our lives,” he said.

He urged his fellow graduates to trust themselves as they move forward. Once you learn to trust yourself and your decisions, he said, you will learn to trust others, you will be able to go out into the world and be open to other people and experiences.

“When we live a life filled with trustworthiness to ourselves and others, we can learn to accept others’ mistakes and flaws, even if they hurt us,” said Patel. “This is when you trust yourself to overcome these problems and move forward with your life.”

Valedictorian Audrey Martin also gave her thanks, to families, faculty, administrators “for allowing some normalcy into this year by allowing our graduation to happen here today,” and to her classmates and friends.

“We have come a long way from fidget spinners, bouncing balls, silly bands and poking holes on the top of our water bottles,” she said. “Together we have grown so much and have discovered who we are as individuals. Even through a global pandemic we’ve proven that we can adapt to adversity.”

It wasn’t easy, she said, “But we all did it.”

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More change awaits the graduates, said Martin.

“When we leave these halls of Hinsdale High, there will be a lot of change we will become adapted to,” she said, but don’t let self-doubt or the criticism of others get in the way of progress.

“History has proven to us, that through ambition and hard work, anybody can accomplish their goals,” said Martin. “Everyone can create an impact in this world. ... When creating your legacy, remember that, even from a small town such as Hinsdale, everyone can start from today to create a brighter future for themselves and the people around them.”

Martin quoted President Barack Obama, who said “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or some other time. We’re the change we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”

“Be who you wish will change the world,” said Martin.

Mark Curtiss presented the Guy X. Bouchie Memorial Scholarship to Olivia Pangelinan and Terry Zavorotny.

Michael Abbott presented his eponymous scholarship to Audrey Martin.

Leo Marshall presented the Matthew P. Snyder Memorial Scholarship to Alexis Moody.

Joseph Boggio presented the Royal Barnett Memorial Scholarship to Delaney Wilcox and Angelina Nardolillo.

Jennifer Delano presented the Kristin L. Wilson Memorial Scholarship to Kristin Davis.

Melanie Harrison presented the Joshua J. Perkins Memorial Scholarship to Kristin Davis.

Hinsdale Elementary School teacher Deborah Carrier presented the first Lewis Major Memorial Scholarship to Delaney Wilcox. Major, also known as “Uncle Lew,” taught math and drivers education in Hinsdale for 35 years.

“Although he often said he wasn’t a very good teacher, if you were lucky enough to be in one of his classes, you knew differently,” said Carrier.

Class Vice President Kleay Steever closed the ceremony.

“My class and I had to deal with some of the hardest situations, but with the support of the Hinsdale staff we have accomplished so much in our high school years,” said Steever. “We even beat a global pandemic and not many classes can say they did that.”

PURCHASE PHOTOS

Awards and Scholarships for the Class of 2021

Kristin Davis: The David Kacanek Scholarship, The Elks Roger Sheriden Scholarship, Matthew Eric Nurmi Scholarship, The Catholic Daughters of the Americas Citizenship Award, Dorcas & Peter Pombay Scholarship, The Fisher Cats Scholarship, The Marine Corps. League Det. 798 Scholarship, The Hinsdale Alumni Scholarship, The Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship, The Justin Holden Memorial Gateway Foundation Scholarship.

Brianne Gaffney: 40 & 8 Nursing Scholarship.

Audrey Martin: Catholic Daughters of the Americas Citizenship Award, Hinsdale Knights of Columbus Council # 6921 Scholarship, The Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship, Pisgah Mountain Trailriders Scholarship, Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Scholarship, The Brattleboro Elks Scholarship, Dr. R. Winthrop Davison Scholarship.

Angelina Nardolillo: Monadnock Board of Realtors Scholarship, Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary Scholarship, Arlene P. Royce Business Award, Gateway Foundation Scholarship.

Olivia Pangelinan: Hinsdale Knights of Columbus Council No. 6921 Scholarship, Pisgah Mountain Trailriders Scholarship, Dr. R. Winthrop Davison Scholarship.

Arth Patel: Elks Roger Sheriden Scholarship, Matthew Eric Nurmi Memorial Scholarship, Granite State Conference Award, The Anna Hunt Marsh Award, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship, Hinsdale Knights of Columbus Council No. 6921 Scholarship, The Robert T. Gannett Gateway Foundation Scholarship, Dr. R. Winthrop Davison Scholarship.

Jessy Reyor: The Class of 2015 Principal’s Award.

Kleay Steever: Hinsdale Federation of Teacher’s Scholarship, Hinsdale National Honor Society Scholarship, Dorcas & Peter Pombay Scholarship, Hinsdale PTA Scholarship, Wantastiquet Grange Legacy Scholarship.

Delaney Wilcox: Doris B. Smith Memorial Scholarship, Hinsdale Federation of Teacher’s Scholarship, Wantastiquet Grange Legacy Scholarship, Mary Spencer Langille Memorial Scholarship.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.