SHREWSBURY – Adorned with navy blue robes and mortarboard caps, 431 members of Shrewsbury High School’s class of 2023 were handed their diplomas during the school’s 145th annual graduation ceremony on Thursday.
The soon-to-be graduates processed behind the school and onto David J. Adams Memorial Field, where friends, family, and faculty members were eager to congratulate them. After the school’s chamber choir performed the National Anthem, Student Council Vice President Morgan Shapiro officially opened the ceremony.
“This moment can only be described as bittersweet,” Shapiro said. “I have been honored to be a part of such an amazing group of people, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for each and every single one of you.”
Although students graduated individually, several speakers emphasized that everyone graduates together as a class. Nicole Orlik, the class vice president, likened high school to one big puzzle.
“In these past four years, [we’ve] contribut[ed] our piece of this now complete 431-piece puzzle of the class of 2023. We are ‘C-Wingers,’ robotics champions, [and] performers. We are athletes… artists, debaters, [and] activists… and together our diverse interests and talents create a beautiful puzzle,” Orlik said.
“We are all wearing the same cap and the same gown, [and] we are all being recognized for the hard work and dedication we put into being here tonight,” salutatorian Aditi Dosi said. “We are all dressed as one, perhaps a testament to the fact that we did it together.”
William Wu, the class valedictorian and student council president, was next to speak. Wu detailed the importance of supporting one another, pointing to his sister Athena as someone who “always knew what words of advice to give [him].”
“When faced with tough challenges, you shouldn’t struggle alone. You should not struggle in silence,” Wu said. “Simultaneously, I’ve come to understand that one cannot always take… [we should] pay it forward and be the support for someone else… Check up on [people], lend a hand and be the light in others’ lives when they too are struggling because no one – no one – is an entirely self-made person.”
Soon enough, diplomas were conferred. Each graduate’s name was read as they walked up the ramp and across the stage to receive their diploma from School Committee Chair Sandra Fryc.
“Class of 2023, you hold the tools and skills needed to create your own path and meet your own personal definition of success… The School Committee is incredibly proud of your accomplishments and the caring, confident young adults you have become,” Fryc said during her address.
Principal Todd Bazydlo personally congratulated each graduate leaving the stage. Class of 2023 adviser Denise Satterfield, who also teaches mathematics, excitedly offered each graduate a hug.
“This class is full of kind, compassionate, empathetic, and accepting young men and women,” Bazydlo said. “Shrewsbury is a very special place.”
In his speech at the graduation ceremony, Superintendent Joe Sawyer encouraged graduates to “BeReal,” playing off the uber-popular social media app. Whereas posts on other social media platforms are carefully staged, BeReal’s more candid approach highlights the importance of authenticity, Sawyer said.
“Just as the BeReal app simultaneously snaps a photo from your phone’s back and front cameras, we need to look both inward and outward to determine how to become the truest version of ourselves,” said Sawyer.
“I do hope that you will make the effort to be real with yourself, to be a real help to those in need, to be a real friend who can be counted on, and to make a real contribution to your real world. If you do, you’ll be a real credit to your family, your community, and yourself. It’s been real, class of 2023,” he said.
The ceremony also featured remarks from Class President John Qiu, Class Treasurer Kevin Dong, Class Secretary Brian Kerekon and Class Marshal Cathy Nguyen. Student Council Secretary Kenneth Nguyen and Student Council Representative Jenna Godek read the poem “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan, while Hann-Emily Riviere and Vincent Solitro both delivered speeches recognizing the faculty.
Watch the recording of the ceremony on the Shrewsbury Media Connection YouTube channel using this link.