Military News: Student leaving for military training given personal graduation day

June 22. 2018 11:13PM
Jacob Blair, center, who left for military training the day before the graduation ceremony at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, received his own personal graduation day. With him, from left, are Ryan Gilpatrick, assistant principal; J. Fitzpatrick, principal; Robert Cullison, superintendent; and Justin Carloni, director of counseling and guidance services. (Courtesy)

ALTON - After learning senior class president Jacob Blair had to leave for military training the day before his June 15 graduation, Prospect Mountain High School decided to hold a graduation ceremony for one.

At the end of Senior Awards Night on June 13, everyone was asked to remain seated for a special presentation.

A procession including Superintendent Bob Cullison, Principal J. Fitzpatrick, the faculty and other staff, all dressed in ceremonial robes, entered the auditorium. The audience stood and cheered as "Pomp and Circumstance" played, and Blair walked in alone wearing his cap and gown.

Fitzpatrick gave opening remarks, then Blair delivered his speech, which, as class president, he would have given at the full graduation ceremony.

Afterward, Cullison said, "I want you to know how proud we all are of your accomplishments and to thank you for what you are doing for our country."

Assistant Principal Ryan Gilpatrick read Blair's name as he crossed the stage and received his honors diploma. His classmates sent him off with hugs, tears and well-wishes, the school said.

Blair, who is already a soldier in the New Hampshire National Guard, left the next morning for advanced individual training at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Early on at the Senior Awards Night, which is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the senior class and to present awards and scholarships, Blair was presented a three-year Army ROTC scholarship worth $96,000. After his training at Fort Rucker this summer, he will attend the University of New Hampshire to study mechanical engineering. He already finished his basic training last summer through the National Guard.

Blair is the son of Denise and Joe Blair and grandson of John Blair, a retired U.S. Army major general and former adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.


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