Manchester Memorial graduates told it's a moment that should be cherished
Class secretary Jenna Freitas speaks to her classmates during Manchester Memorial graduation Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER)
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MANCHESTER — Savor this moment, the 435 members of the 2012 class of Manchester Memorial High School were told during Saturday's commencement.
“Friends and families, please, for the next few days, don't ask us about our plans for the future, and let us cherish this time,” valedictorian Katherine M. Tully said in her speech.
The ceremony, held at Verizon Wireless Arena, featured the surprise appearance of Principal Arthur L. Adamakos, who had sextuple heart bypass surgery earlier this month and was expected to miss the ceremony.
“The students had prepared a tribute, but Mr. Adamakos decided that this was too important to miss,” Assistant Principal Peter R. Perich said.
“Thank you, Mr. A., for a wonderful four years and for keeping us out of trouble,” said Jenna Freitas, class president.
Tully said the graduates have been peppered with questions about their plans for work or college.
“Really, though, all of these questions can be narrowed down to what you want to do with the rest of your life,” she said. “That's crazy. We're 17 and 18 years old. Personally, I'm not even old enough to vote yet.”
Before the ceremony, several graduates said they couldn't believe they were about to finish their high school careers.
“This doesn't feel real. It feels like we're in a movie right now,” said Jordan Forbes.
“I'm freaking out,” Falisha Fortune said.
Mayor Ted Gatsas, after recognizing the 14 graduates who are planning to enter military service, told the graduates that the future is theirs to seize.
“The opportunities before you are incredibly numerous,” Gatsas said. “Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the ability to reach for the stars.”
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Tim Buckland may be reached at email@example.com.
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