GREENVILLE — Riverheads High School commenced the local high school graduation season Friday night with 115 in the Class of 2019.
According to the class’s Salutatorian Kathryn Trinity Obaugh, who provided the commencement welcome, May 17 was just a day on the calendar at the end of the academic year.
Even as the academic year’s end neared “it seemed so distant, a far-off goal we were reaching for,” she said.
Amid football games, classes and homework, however, many firsts took place, such as first prom and first college acceptance letter.
“Tonight will be the first time we will walk into the world as graduated adults,” said Obaugh of another first for the class.
She encouraged her classmates to “honor the past, live the present and praise the future” as they go forward in their lives.
She shared memories of what teachers taught them in high school classrooms.
Then Obaugh told her classmates to look around them and recognize the friends and family who have provided support.
“Also, it’s time to recognize your own achievements,” Obaugh said.
Although it might be difficult at times in the future, Obaugh encouraged her classmates “never stop pursuing your dreams.”
Laura Toner Doyle has been a mathematics teacher at Riverheads High for 10 years. After graduating from Riverheads 14 years ago, she obtained her bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater College.
In her commencement address to the Class of 2019 Friday night, Doyle, who was Riverheads High’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, she said that when she spoke at her high school graduation and encouraged her classmates she never imagined that one day she would encourage another class of graduates.
She encouraged the Class of 2019 to set goals each day, whether they be short-term or long-term goals.
“Set goals for saving and investing in your future, landing your dream job, having a family of your own, buying a house, traveling the world,” said Doyle. “Set goals for being kind, helping others, saving the environment. Figure out what you want to accomplish, then decide how to make it happen.”
She advised the graduates, however, that setting goals is the easy part. Achieving goals is more difficult.
At times, she said, the graduates will feel hurt by a setback or disappointment, and want to quit. That is when they must ask themselves why they started.
At such times, the graduates will have to push themselves to keep going.
Doyle said it is important when you struggle or fail that you have people around you to provide support, help you recover, “and to push you to keep going.”
“You all have the ability to persevere. I have seen it in the classroom, on the field and in your lives outside of school,” Doyle said. “You all have the determination and heart to get where you want to be and make things happen.”
She said the graduates will make mistakes, and they must forgive themselves.
“Do not let the fear of failure keep you from trying,” she said.
Doyle reminded the Class of 2019 that they have achieved goals while at Riverheads High School. But, what is next in their lives?
“Set your goals, set them high and go run after them,” Doyle said. “Congratulations, Class of 2019. You did it.”