Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-07-2018

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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8 GRADUATION 2018 JUNE 7-13, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION pionships, the basketball team host and win a district playoff game and the Student Council earn a 2018 Gold Council of Excellence distinction from the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils. "Personally, I am overwhelmed with the memories I have of each and every one of you," Dudek told the class. "There's a reason you are here today, and I commend you for finishing strong." As Dudek noted, 76 percent of the class of 2018 will go on to college or technical school, while 5 percent will enter the military and the remaining 19 percent are prepared to enter the work force. He offered the students tips for their future success. Some, such as, "Don't play it safe," were to be expected for a class of graduating seniors. Others, such as "Read obitu- aries," were a bit more unorthodox. "Ordinary people do extraordinary things," Dudek said, encouraging the graduates to study the lives of those who have gone before them. One of those lives had been high- lighted on those same steps earlier in the day. Richard Carroll, a previous BMR student and military veteran, should have received his diploma with the class of 1964, but was called to military service before he could attend the ceremony. Fifty-four years later, the class of 2018 held their own graduation ceremony for Carroll, who received his diploma from Dudek and Assistant Principal Keith Ducharme in front of the entire class. "Remember to shape your own definition of success, but remember all those around you," Dudek said as he recounted Carroll's story for the crowd. Students described the bittersweet feel of graduation and the realities of high school life. In a year shaped by several mass shootings in schools throughout the country, Salutatorian Charlotte Arsenault started with a moment of silence. "We stand in solidarity with all the teachers left with empty desks in their classrooms, with all the friends left with empty seats at their lunch tables and especially with all the parents left with empty beds in their homes," she said. Arsenault cited high student loan debt and low employment as reasons some say the American education system has failed, but said students at BMR have learned valuable life skills beyond those reflected in standard- ized test scores due to the efforts of faculty and staff. "The most important lessons are the ones you learn through simply living your life. Those are the les- sons that my classmates and I have learned during our years together at BMR," she said. Valedictorian Heather Milliken recalled the importance of friend- ships and working in community as students looked to form their identi- ties at BMR and create a new path forward following graduation. "Being able to laugh and be our- selves with the people we care about and trust the most is what I look for- ward to when my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. every single morning," she said. She also noted the importance of those who have supported the stu- dents to graduation day. "I value my teachers, my family, my friends and my peers so much that I wouldn't be here today without them," she said. Led by the class officers, the 89 students were greeted by cheers as they walked across the stage wearing signature purple and gold graduation robes. Class President Justin Keyes offered the closing remarks before the new graduates walked out to greet their family members in the crowd. He expressed his confidence that his classmates would find success despite being nervous about the years ahead. "It is with zero doubt that I say you are all capable of accomplishing anything you put your mind to, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you all reach your full potential along the way," he said. Echoing his classmates, Keyes also noted the deep support of the Blackstone and Millville communi- ties for their graduating seniors. He praised the special closeness of the small towns and asked the graduates to remain rooted in the places that raised them. BREEZE PHOTOS BY CHARLES LAWRENCE BLACKSTONE-MILLVILLE REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL 2018 graduating students walk to their seats during the processional at the start of the 48th annual com- mencement exercises on Friday, June 1, at the high school. Class Salutatorian CHARLOTTE ARSENAULT began her speech by ask- ing for a moment of silence for all the teachers and students who have been killed in schools. BMR From Page One 151 N MAIN STREET BELLINGHAM, MA 02019 844.345.2236 The Charles Bellingham is now accepting affordable wait-list applications! CALL 844-345-2236 to inquire about our 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.

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