Ready to spread their wings, Scituate graduates leave SHS nest

Ready to spread their wings, Scituate graduates leave SHS nest

William Petterson receives his diploma during Scituate High School’s graduation last Friday, held at the gazebo on the Village Green. For more on Scituate’s graduation, and Ponaganset High School’s graduation. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

SCITUATE – No decorations were needed for the Class of 2017’s graduation last Friday on the Village Green – Mother Nature took care of the aesthetic.

Clouds drifted away and made room for a soft blue sky. Deep green pines and red maple trees provided shade. The sun peaked through cracks in the branches and drenched graduates in its glow.

All of this accompanied by a quaint white gazebo.

It’s not wonder Scituate High School Principal Michael Hassell welcomed attendees to “yet another Norman Rockwell graduation” at the opening of Friday evening’s ceremony outside North Scituate Elementary School.

His comparison of the scene to Rockwell’s picturesque paintings was not far off.

As graduates filed down the lush green aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance,” it was clear the day was both a beginning and an end.

One day prior to graduation, students had walked the halls of their former elementary schools. This walk is a tradition in town, and allows graduates to reflect on how far they have come in their academic journey.

In his speech, Hassell helped students process this mix of emotions by quoting from the very first Scituate High School yearbook published 60 years ago.

“Since childhood school has been our greatest trial of endurance. We have had to be tough to last, and now that the trial is over we may look back and feel proud that the grade has finally been made,” Hassell read. “The spirit of the Spartans will be with us forever!”

Supt. Lawrence Filippelli reminded students that although they might miss the comfort of Scituate, “the point of tonight is for you to commence.”

Filippelli also encouraged graduates to enjoy “the gift of time and gift of your youth.”

The evening also included speeches written by the Class of 2017’s salutatorian and valedictorian.

Salutatorian Nicolas Pezzullo provided the teary-eyed graduates with comedic distraction.

“I am certain I tried my best all throughout high school, and yet my best was not good enough, which is why I am only second. As my friends like to put it, I was the first to lose,” Pezzullo said.

In all seriousness, Pezzullo took his place as second in the class as an important lesson. “It is important to note that even if you are on a path to failure, or on a path to second place, there will always be people who make every bit of it worthwhile,” Pezzullo said.

Valedictorian Mackenzie McCann gave graduates something more tangible than an inspiring speech – “life’s little instruction” goodie bags.

Using the letters in the word graduate, McCann included items that she hoped would inspire her classmates.

G stood for glow stick: “Be a beacon of light wherever you go and remember, like a glow stick, sometimes we have to be broken before we can shine,” McCann said.

R stood for rattle: “Shake things up.”

A stood for a maze: “You are all amazing!”

D stood for Dum Dum: “Remember, the only dum dums in this crowd are the lollipops.”

U stood for useless information: “Or so it may appear, but in reality there is no useless information, you just have to find its purpose.”

A stood for airplane: “Soar to new heights.”

T stood for two pennies: “So I can give you my two cents worth. Let them remind you to pay it forward, both literally and figuratively.”

E stood for Extra gum: “Always go that extra mile, take that extra step, or put in a little extra effort.”

Shortly afterward the Class of 2017 walked across the stage, entering one side as a high school student and exiting the other as a graduate.

Scituate High School’s 60th Commencement Exercises begin, with the graduates singing “I’m On My Way” led by Choral Director Christine Johnston.
Valedictorian Mackenzie McCann took the word “graduate” and gave a meaning to each individual letter, describing the qualities of the graduates.
Zackary Finnegan, right, receives congratulations from his friend, Brian Blackmore, who graduated last year.
Sophia Mancinelli gets a hug from her dad, Vince Mancinelli after Scituate High School’s graduation ceremony last Friday.
Glenn Grenier gives his daughter, Emily, a hug now that she has finished high school.