Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 06-13-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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4 GRADUATION 2019 JUNE 13-19, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION ability, and its kindness. "You will definitely, definitely be missed," Barnes said. Opening the evening, Class President Jenna Obiurka said that the Class of 2019 was full of "truly amazing individuals." She talked about the many accomplishments the class achieved, such as being representatives at a youth summit for inclusion in China and winning multiple interscholastic state champi- onships, among others. She said she is proud to call every- one graduating her classmate. "2019 is synonymous with Ponaganset pride," Obiurka said. "I wish you all the best the world has to offer." Following Obiurka, PHS Principal Renee Palazzo spoke about the class, and said when defining the students, one word came to mind: happy. On average, a person has 35,000 choices and decisions in a day, or 12 million a year. She asked all the students and attendants to take a moment to laugh, spurring a round of laughter echoing against the brick walls of the school and across the lawn. "I wish for you a lifetime of choos- ing happiness. Remember your time here laughing," Palazzo said. Class advisers Gary Martinelli and Robert Martin said the Class of 2019 was full of spirit. Martin said the class was instrumental in his 4-year-old son Tommy's life. He said Tommy shared many of his firsts with the class, and it was appropri- ate, because to Martin, members of the Class of 2019 were like his kids. Martin said the class always knew how to engage, to be free-spirited, to be inclusive and happy. "These are memories that I'll always cherish as a father and as a teacher," he said. Martin ended his speech reciting the "Friends" theme song, finish- ing the first verse, "I'll be there for you." Martin and PHS counselor Linda Bucci presented Nathan Watts, Ryan Watts and Grace Wells-Dannenfelser with the 2019 Ideal Chieftain award. Bucci said an Ideal Chieftain must possess a certain initiative and drive, they must exceed academically, and they must contribute to the com- munity. The "high-achieving twins," who created the DECA club and headed to nationals to compete the same year, were recognized for their per- sonification of the principles of lead- ership, said staff. Martin said Wells-Dannenfelser is vested in making the world a bet- ter place, and worked diligently to maintain the highest level of stan- dards. He said the administration holds her in the highest regard. "You epitomize the spirit of PHS," Martin said. Salutatorian Jordan McGuire spoke to the class in a metaphor about relativity and absolutes in geography. She said this moment is one of the few in their lives where they have thought about where they're going with such depth. "It doesn't matter where you're going, as long as you're going," McGuire said. Though an individual's vision of the future in the next 10, 20, or 30 years may change, she said it is vital to continue to move forward. "Don't worry about getting lost as long as you remember to keep mov- ing forward," she said. In her valedictory address, Charlotte LoPiccolo said of all things she was assigned during her time at PHS, writing her commence- ment speech was the hardest. "I had to find a way to say good- bye to the class and staff in one go," she said. She said it is evident the class had fun, and made strides to make a successful future. She said the sup- port of teachers, students, parents and friends helped the class succeed every step of the way. Now it is time to move forward, she said. "We have so much more awaiting in future endeavors," LoPiccolo said. "Congrats, Class of 2019, we made it." PHS From Page One The GRADUATION PROCESSIONAL begins for the Ponaganset High School Class of 2019 commencement exercises at the school last Friday. BREEZE PHOTO BY CHARLES LAWRENCE

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