Families crowd GMUHS for graduating Class of 2015

By Leah M. Cunningham
©2015-Telegraph Publishing LLC

On Friday, June 19, overcast and rainy skies cleared in time for the evening’s ceremonies, as Green Mountain Union High School awarded 57 diplomas to students heading to either college, the work force or the military. (See photo gallery below)

Despite adding 200 chairs to bring audience seating to 500, some family and friends still had found themselves standing among the throngs to witness the milestone. Green Mountain Principal Tom Ferenc later said he expected that next year, he would be adding even more chairs.

During the speeches, salutatorian Madeleine Fulkerson reflected on the class’s first day at Green Mountain to draw on the importance of graduation. “We made it. Some days we may have complained that these years were going by slower than they should have, but tonight it feels like they have flown by,” she told the overflow crowd.

In her speech, valedictorian Alecia Rokes emphasized the importance of community. She urged her classmates “to be active in (their new) community, to take action within it, to make new friends and to find your place in the community that is around you … But we need to remember that this community (Chester) will always be here for us, as it always has been.”

Class guest speaker Melissa Palmer, a social studies teacher who was also an adviser to this class, said that this graduation was “breaking (her) heart.” She told the audience that she had asked GM faculty to pick four words to describe the Class of 2015. She said they came up with “boisterous, lively, fun and capable.”

Several awards that weren’t given out at the June 12 Awards Ceremony were presented during graduation.

They included: Alumni Award to Adrian Baraw-Nelson; American Legion Award to Vanessa Griswold and Alecia Rokes; Babe Ruth Athletic awards Kyle Kemp and Emily McNamara; Chester Academy Gold Pins to Alecia Rokes, Jordan Stewart and Casie Walton; John Butler Scholarships from the Chester Academy to Madeline Fulkerson, Brian Hennel, Daina Ricketts, Alecia Rokes, Jordan Stewart and Casie Walton. Medals and checks to two students nominated by teachers went to Joseph Epler III and Casie Walton. Vanessa Griswold was recognized for her participation in the VAST program at Vermont Technical College, which makes her a sophomore in college.

Several students not mentioned in last week’s Awards Night article in The Chester Telegraph are: Breanna Vittum, who received the Chester Memorial Teachers Award; and Emily Tornquist, Rachel Martel, Katherine McNally, Jessica Ralston, Melanie Thompson and Alexandra DeRosia, who are already attending college and  received the Tom Spater Memorial Scholarships.

The ceremony ended with the officers of the Class of 2015 presenting the class’s gift of $1,000 to help fund the school’s outdoor project. And as the start of a new tradition, each member of the class received a GM Spirit Coin as a memento of their time at GM.

Those who also received diplomas but did not attend graduation include: Haley Adams, Pamela Ann Ameden, Sara Davidson, Lilith C. Dyke Gragg, Katherine E. Gordon, Rebecca Johnson-Blanchard and John Alexander Lighthall.

Photos by Leah M. Cunningham. Names listed from left to right, click any to launch gallery.

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  1. Charles Craft says:

    It’s heartening to those of us who attended the first GMUHS graduation ceremony back in 1971 to see that the school’s commitments to excellence and community continue.