MARLBOROUGH – After going through two years of remote learning, face masks, social distancing and other pandemic restrictions, a little rain was not about to stop Marlborough High School’s class of 2023.
On Sunday, June 4, at Whitcomb Middle School’s Noble Field, members of the class sheltered from the occasional showers under a tent, as did the symphonic band and local and school officials.
“Never forget where you came from, and what you’ve been through,” said Principal Daniel Riley. “No one can take this day away from you.”
The ceremony marked the first graduation for Superintendent Mary Murphy.
“You will always be connected to the community,” said Murphy.
She emphasized the many cultural backgrounds that comprise the class; her remarks were translated into Spanish and Portuguese.
This year’s graduation was also the last for Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who is stepping down later this year.
Vigeant said this year’s seniors were in first grade when he first became mayor.
He said that he was not the best of students, but he learned to persevere; he went to three schools over six years to earn his college degree, and took the CPA exam seven times before he finally passed.
“Nothing worthwhile is easy,” he told the class. “Failure is nothing to be ashamed of.”
The pandemic hit during the class’ freshmen year – right after a visit from Eastern equine encephalitis.
“We started off with EEE, then the pandemic,” Sarah Stagg told the Community Advocate, who plans to major in music education at Keene State College in New Hampshire. “The school did everything they could … I had a lot of fun; the last two years were fun.”
“It was a little tough at first when COVID hit,” said Megan Lowe, who’s heading to the University of New Haven this fall. “It was really good the way they supported us.”
“We’ve been the most adaptable class ever,” said class president Valentina Ayala-Bustamante.
For Kevin Desena, the pandemic did not stop him from exploring his options. While at MHS, Desena said he tried different courses, including architecture.
“I tried to find what I like,” he said. “I tried different things … the school was very nurturing, very helpful to students.”
In the end, Desena is heading to Oxford-Brookes University in England to pursue a career as a Formula One mechanic.
After speeches by class salutatorian Eduardo Castro and valedictorian Alexandre Banos, the seniors announced their class gift – the refurbishment of the senior picnic area at the high school.
The class honored Timothy J. Wright, a classmate who died in September 2022, by presenting a diploma to his family.
The high school’s a cappella choir and Voices ReChoired also performed during the ceremony.