Advice to John Stark Regional students: ‘Get out of your comfort zones’
John Stark Regional High School’s Class of 2013 lines up and prepares for the procession into the commencement exercises on Saturday, June 15. (Kathy Remillard Photo)
Principal Chris Mosca gave students three pieces of advice that he said would lead to a lifetime of happiness and success.
“Be who you are, and not who others want you to be,” Mosca said, urging students to choose creativity over conformity. “Stay true to your own compass.”
Second, Mosca told students to lust for the future, but treasure the past and the memories of what he called the greatest adventure of all – the coming of age.
Finally, Mosca said, “That which hurts you isn’t always bad,” noting that pain produces perseverance, which in turn produces character, then hope.
“Hope doesn’t disappoint,” Mosca said. “And today, you didn’t disappoint.”
Mosca, who referenced many students by name in his remarks, will not be returning next year, and thanked students for his experience.
“You have given me more than you could ever know,” he said.
In announcing his retirement earlier this year, Mosca said he would be returning to Maine to be with his family.
Salutatorian Marina Rioux told her fellow classmates that their every action shapes the world they live in.
While some conventional wisdom says not to sweat the small stuff, Rioux disagreed.
“Do sweat the little things,” she said. “The little things count more than you will ever know.”
Rioux, who is from Henniker, will attend the University of Chicago in the fall.
Class Valedictorian Keith Galli of Henniker, who will attend MIT next year, told students to get out of their comfort zones, take risks, learn new things and don’t be afraid to fail.
“Failure is just part of the journey,” Galli said. “Keep pushing and striving toward your goals, no matter what happens.”
Commencement speaker William Babine, who retires this year after a 39-year career in education, 21 of them at John Stark, reminded students to serve others as they embark on their futures.
“You don’t try to win life, you serve life,” he said. “Serve lives in the wider world that need your help.”
Babine said John Stark helped to foster the values of attention, tolerance, compassion, patience and empathy in students, and advised students to seek values that have no price tag attached.
“I hope you never declare, ‘I got mine,’” Babine said, adding that students should not become so self-centered that they stop appreciating and thinking of others.
As students consider their futures, Babine said, “You know what makes your heart swift, you know what makes your breath catch in your throat. Go get that.”
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