CUMBERLAND — With a nod to the class of 1962, the graduating class of 2012 bid farewell to Cumberland High School on Monday night at a ceremony held at Tucker Field.
Over 350 seniors clad in blue and white caps and gowns were handed their diplomas on the field as family and friends watched from the packed bleachers. About a half dozen members of the class of 1962—the year that the present high school was built—were on hand at the 118th graduation ceremony to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. Among them were the Bessettes, high school sweethearts who were there to watch their granddaughter, Marissa Pereira, receive her diploma.
Principal Dorothy Gould played up the link between the classes of 1962 and 2012, even asking them to play along with a trivia game that required an answer of “That’s us, 1-2” or “That’s us, 6-2” after mentions of trends from each respective era.
Gould also noted that the class of 2012’s yearbook had been dedicated to the class of 1962, and said that both the school’s theater group and Clef Singers had based performances around a nostalgic look back at the last 50 years.
Philip Thornton, the town’s new superintendent of schools, told the seniors that on his graduation day almost 30 years ago, he had thought that his future career plans would involve working outside—perhaps at a national park.
“But here I am as your superintendent of schools,” he said, noting that the seniors will also experience twists and turns in their own post-high school journeys.
Thornton gave the seniors two pieces of advice: “work hard and have fun,” and “remember to play well with others,” adding that this kindergarten skill “will serve you well in life.”
Salutatorian Gabriella K. Cottiero recalled many of the “classic tribulations” endured by the graduating class, which included “Clipper Cash” and the dreaded, state-mandated senior portfolios.
She told her fellow seniors, however, that “With a Cumberland High School education to support us, we can move on,” and further noted that the class of 2012 will soon have to “shed its training wheels and become adults.”
Valedictorian Kaitlyn S. Krajanowski commented that leaving the school would be bittersweet,” adding that she was “the last person in this crowd who wants to grow up…but here we are.”
Referring to a quote from Albert Einstein, Krajanowski told her classmates that “What counts is what makes you happy and makes you, you.” She concluded her speech by singing a few lines from country singer Trace Adkins’ song, “You’re Gonna Miss This,” telling her classmates, “You’re gonna miss this, a lot.”
Senior class president Matthew D. Felber smilingly noted that with the evening’s graduation ceremony, “the world gains over 300 bright new minds,” and further commented that “The sea of blue and white behind me is the start of a brand new day.”
He added, “I could not have hoped for a better group of people to graduate with.”