HUDSON — Although the forecast for the graduation ceremony of the Hudson High School Class of 2023 called for rain, the graduates and family members gathered at Morgan Bowl on June 3 did not let that dampened their spirits.
In a commencement ceremony that featured a rendition of Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me,” everyone in attendance did just that to honor the Class of 2023 as they received their diplomas.
Superintendent Marco Rodrigues, who celebrated his final graduation with his upcoming retirement, broke down the class by the numbers: 154 graduates, 88 students who have been in the school system since kindergarten, 17 English Language Learners, 499 college acceptances and 317 AP courses taken.
“These numbers are impressive and [are a] true testimony of your hard work, determination and perseverance all these years,” said Rodrigues.
He was proud of their accomplishments and characters and wished them happiness and success in the future.
Principal Jason Medeiros noted that like the Class of 2023, who have endured during the COVID-19 pandemic, “A seed doesn’t stay buried, it rises.”
“This class is such a talented group. We are so proud of them,” said Medeiros.
He had no doubt that they had taught their underclassmen the leadership values that they possessed and left them ready to fill their shoes.
Class President Ian Ludlam noted in his speech that graduation is a time for reflection as well as celebration. He reflected on the fact they were “blindsided by a pandemic” in ninth grade, adjusted to a new schedule in 10th grade as a result, experienced both pandemic restrictions and normal activities like prom in 11th grade and finally were able to prepare for the future in 12th grade.
“We, the Class of 2023, experienced so much that brought us together on our journey,” said Ludlam.
Ludlam called it a culmination of a “beautiful, but bumpy ride.”
Valedictorian Morgan Weatherbee said it has been a long journey to graduation. In the time between entering high school and now, she said “time kept ticking by.”
“Here as we sit side by side, we’ll walk through those front doors for the very last time: stepping out of adolescence and into adulthood,” said Weatherbee.
Salutatorian Lauren Bowler, who is Weatherbee’s neighbor and best friend, said even with her hard work and academic achievements, her fear was that she spent too much time stressing about deadlines and homework.
“I fear that I did not spend enough time appreciating the moments between passing periods where I laughed so hard with my friends that my stomach ached,” said Bowler.
Bowler advised her fellow classmates not to go through life checking off boxes to “the point where you forget to fill the spaces in between.”
Rodrigues said that commencement is “always a wonderful event,” and it was great to see family and friends come together to celebrate the graduates.
“They are an awesome class,” said Rodrigues.