The student speakers at Watertown High School’s 2019 graduation shared memories of their four years at the high school, remarked on the students’ ability to adapt and thrive, and shared advice about how to be better people.
The WHS Class of 2019 celebrated the culmination of four years of hard work, fun and congeniality during Friday evenings graduation ceremony at Victory Field. See the graduate list here.
Valedictorian Joshua Theodore said the Class of 2019 is part of the generation that exists in two realities: in real life and on social media. However, he his classmates people to unite the two parts of their lives because it will ultimately make them happier.
“It’s exhausting to exist as two separate people. To exist online and off line tears us in two,” Theodore said. “In order to stitch ourselves back together and become whole we need to unify the version of us on social media with the version of us in the present, and tear down the filter of our lives in reality to its parallel in the internet.”
When posting on social media, Theodore said people should be “100 percent authentic,” not glamorize their lives, and to show all the moments — happy and sad.
“Your life isn’t perfect so don’t pretend that it is. Share the sad times so people can relate,” Theodore said. “This will remove the need to constantly measure your life to everyone else around you.when you acknowledge the sad times in your life it will make the happy ones all the more meaningful.”
Salutatorian Nathan Follett said he has greatly enjoyed his time at Watertown High School, but there were times when he was ready for it to be over, so he could move on to the next stage in his life.
“But this year has made me appreciate our time her together even more,” Follett said. “I would not change a thing about my high school career, but if I had the chance to go back and take one more class with my friends, run one race with my teammates or pack one more fan section with my town, I would.”
Follett said he and his classmates worked hard to get to graduation day, and it work will pay off later.
“Your work becomes worth it when you start college next year and you have the skills to do work on your own and be independent,” Follett said. “Your work becomes worth it when you enter the workforce and have the discipline and drive to move up through the ranks. Your work becomes work it when you take what you have learned the past four years, both inside the classroom and out, and apply it to your life and future career or what ever way you can.”
To sum up his career at WHS, Follett related his high school experience to a game popular with this year’s seniors: hacky sack. The goal is to keep the small beanbag ball in the air without using your hands, and the game is often played by a group of people in a circle.
When playing with someone who is more experience, it can be embarrassing and you’ll be temped to just give up and watch them play without you, he said, “But this is no way to live your life.”
Slowly, people improve, and you can keep the ball in the air.
“You get that rally going with your friends that seems to last forever,” Follett said.
Eventually, the rally ends, Follett said, but then you just pick up the sack and start another rally. He likened this to adversity you may face in life.
“Every time you get knocked down in life, get back up and begin again. Start that rally,” Follett said.
Senior Class President Christine Zhu remarked on how rounded the students are at Watertown High School.
“We have world class athletes, intelligent scholars and artistic minds. And rather than have all these separate talents the students in this class are all of those things combined,” Zhu said. “We sign up for multiple sports, clubs and challenging classes, and we take on projects that are interesting. We do work to serve the community to give back in the way that it has served us. We will be capable of navigating the waters and adapting to new situations.”
Zhu also thanked the family, friends, faculty and staff who attended the graduation ceremony.
“Class of 2019, look around us and see the ocean of people around us today,” Zhu said. “They represent the love and support that we have gotten throughout high school. It is also important to thank the staff and faculty of Watertown High. They have passed on their knowledge and worked their hardest to create a school that allowed us to thrive.”
One of the strengths of the members of the Class of 2019, Zhu said, is their ability to adapt and continue to be excellent at what they do. Whether it was a bad grade, a new school start time or dealing with 40 degree days in the month of May.
“We will take whatever life throws at us except it and use it to find our passions and be excellent at what we do,” Zhu said. “We will use the memories experiences that we gained at Watertown High, because they are now engrained in us. We will go out in the world and hopefully be fearless and confident in our future endeavors.
“I wish everyone the best of luck. Congratulations Class of 2019, we made it!”
Also during the ceremony, members of the graduation class provided musical interludes. Daniel VanRyn sang “Wish You Were Here” with accompaniment by Lucy Capone and Meron Hagos. Noah Ferraresso sang “The Las Goodbye,” and Julia Greim gave her rendition of “Now and Forever.”
See more photos from the Class of 2019 graduation in the photo gallery below: