The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/1013956

Seven seniors start a new chapter

Hats off to the class of 2013
By Stephanie Turaj | Jun 14, 2013
Photo by: Kari Curtis Members of the Class of 2013 gather in front of the school before heading inside to receive their diplomas on Saturday, June 8.

It was an afternoon of fond memories, applause, music and friendship.

Seven Block Island School seniors received their diplomas on Saturday, June 8: Alexandra Brady, Thomas Conant III, Jaixen Hall, Alexandra Littlefield, Jonathan McCabe, Grace O’Neill, and Madison Tretheway.

“It has been a pleasure to watch you move through our school and grow,” said Superintendent Bob Hicks, addressing the seniors at the graduation. “I challenge you for what you can become and thank you for what you have given us.”

The ceremony was joined by the entire Block Island School student body, from kindergarten to the junior class, and families of the graduates each had their own row in the school gym that was overflowing with attendees and decorated with red and white balloons, which happen to be the school colors.

Class valedictorian Jaixen Hall and salutatorian Alexandra Brady took to the stage to deliver warm words to their fellow seniors. They each spoke about the close ties that bond the small Block Island School together with the community.

“It’s hard not to reminisce about the past 13 years,” said Brady, as she and Hall addressed each of their classmates — and friends — individually, sharing memories and thoughts about each. Both took turns saying something about each person.

“Jon,” Brady said to fellow graduate Jon McCabe, “You make any situation hysterical,” said Brady.

She continued: “Allie… your strong love for competition, your competitive attitude only got bigger.” To Grace O’Neill, she said: “I think back to preschool when we ran around calling each other sissies.”

Jaixon Hall also handed out the tributes.

“Tom,” Hall said to Tom Conant, “you became my backbone and brother.” And to fellow speaker, Brady said, “Jaixen… your infectious smile really got me through the past few years.”

To Maddie Tretheway, Conant said: "Maddie... you’re a nurse in every way.” And to Alexandra Brady, he said, “I always learn something new from you.”

Physical education teacher and guest speaker John Tarbox also addressed the students individually, and shared his memories of teaching them over the years.

“When people ask about this class,” said Tarbox, “I don’t hesitate saying I love these kids.”

He spoke to the group’s “kindness, strength, enthusiasm, artistic skill,” and thanked them for “mostly just making us smile.”

Alexandra Brady finished her speech with a quote from Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip “Dilbert”: “You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential.” She explained, “These six people have each had a substantial impact on my character and personality.”

Brady said that no matter where her friends went — near or far — she knew they would stay in touch.

“Congrats to the class of 2013,” said guidance counselor Elizabeth Gomes — and at the end of the ceremony, the students flipped their tassels, walked across the stage, and started a new chapter in their lives.

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