‘There’s so much to celebrate’: Shrewsbury High School holds 2024 graduation

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‘There’s so much to celebrate’: Shrewsbury High School holds 2024 graduation
Graduates clap as Class President Samuel Bachini closes the ceremony. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – The Class of 2024 wants to be remembered as a community.

On May 30, thousands of friends and family members gathered at Shrewsbury High School to celebrate the Class of 2024 at the school’s 146th graduation ceremony. While the group’s 400-plus members will lead different lives – going to different states, different schools, and choosing different vocations – in what was likely their last time together in one place, the navy-gowned members of the Class of 2024 instead decided to focus on what unites them.

Everyone might have received their own diploma, but Thursday night’s ceremony was about shared experiences.

“Together we have climbed the hill of the last four years, and together we have reached the top,” Class Secretary Paige Umile said while addressing her soon-to-be-former classmates. “We struggled through classes like chemistry and algebra, and we found ourselves swinging through the air as those around us shouted, ‘Holy cow!’ to meet our requirement for adventure gym. All the while, we were creating new and often unexpected relationships, many of which will endure far beyond high school. After tonight, we will all go our separate ways, but right now, we are celebrating our accomplishments as a class. … There’s so much to celebrate.”

Much to celebrate indeed. After the graduates filed into their seats, the night began with the Chamber Choir performing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Krish Gupta, both the valedictorian and Student Council President, spoke next, thanking his family and friends and sharing his perspective on the Class of 2024’s camaraderie.

“I can definitely say I’m thankful for the community around me. The individuals I’ve met in the past 13 years, the friends I’ve made – these communities have shaped the person that I am today, but also who I will be in the future. … From our first steps in elementary school, to our final walk on the field, we have always had a community – whether it be your family, friends, or even your whole graduating class,” he said in his valedictorian address.

Superintendent Joe Sawyer echoed singer-songwriters Lori McKenna and Tim McGraw, encouraging the Class of 2024 to “always stay humble and kind.” In his speech, Sawyer outlined the importance of kindness: People remember how you made them feel, he said.

“Regardless of where you go, what you do, and what you achieve, there are two important elements of your character that will be key measures of the life you chose to live: The first is being humble, the second is being kind. … Congratulations, Class of 2024. Best wishes for a very bright future marked by humility and full of kindness,” he said.

Members of the Class of 2024 started their time at Shrewsbury High School at the peak of COVID-19. Over the course of the ceremony, several speakers recalled that while the pandemic made freshman year more challenging, the Shrewsbury High School community came together to make the adjustment possible.

A sense of enthusiasm, pride, and fulfillment was felt throughout David J. Adams Memorial Field.

“There was no playbook or instruction manual to provide guidance on how to educate during the unlikely event of a pandemic. We wrote the playbook as it happened, and together, we found a path to success. You have all shown incredible perseverance and resilience to be here tonight,” said School Committee Chair Jon Wensky, who presented the graduates – including his daughter, Grace Wensky – with diplomas at the ceremony.

“We have made it here together. Through highs and lows, achievements and failures, and the many decisions that we have made, we have all persevered and are here today united as a class,” Class Salutatorian Marla Zacks told her classmates at the graduation ceremony. “We began our high school careers with a lot of unknowns… but from that, we built something great, even in the midst of uncertainty.”

The ceremony, which lasted roughly two hours as the sun set over the turf field, also included speeches from Shrewsbury Principal Todd Bazydlo, Class President Samuel Bachini, Class Treasurer Advait Bhowmik, Class Vice President Beatrice Millar, and Class Marshal Kamden Carll. Abigail Acquah and Bodhi Vohora, two members of the Class of 2024, recognized the school’s faculty and staff during the ceremony.

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