Assabet graduation honors Class of 2024, retiring principal Hollick

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Assabet graduation honors Class of 2024, retiring principal Hollick
Superintendent-Director Ernest Houle presents students with their diplomas. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

WORCESTER – They entered as students. They left as graduates. But they’ll always be Aztecs.

Shop by shop, roughly 260 Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School students from around Central Massachusetts filed into the DCU Center on Saturday morning for the Class of 2024’s graduation ceremony. The event – which brought together hundreds of friends, family, and other loved ones – included speeches, music, and, of course, the conferral of diplomas to the graduates.

“Class of 2024, your journey has been anything but ordinary. Over the past four years, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges. The world threw obstacles in your path that nobody could have anticipated. You’ve navigated through a global pandemic, navigated through new ways of learning, and dealt with uncertainty that tested your resilience daily. Yet, here you stand today, not just as soon-to-be graduates, but as victors who have overcome adversity through shared determination and unwavering spirit,” Assabet Superintendent-Director Ernest Houle said during the ceremony.

“As you embark on this next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to dream big, take risks, and never stop learning. The whole world needs your talents, creativity, and your passion. Believe in yourself as we believe in you, and know… that your potential is boundless,” he continued.

The ceremony included speeches from Valedictorian Larissa Granger, Salutatorian Lara El-Amme Pingitore, and Student Council President Jayna Tang. The class also heard performances by the Assabet Honors Chorus, Assabet singer-songwriter Jack Brzenk, and the Assabet Senior Band.

“The past four years have been – to put it appropriately – quite the adventure for all of us. As I reflect back, I can’t help but marvel at how far the Class of 2024 has come. We entered this school as timid freshmen, unsure what the future held for us, but now, we stand here as graduates, ready to take on the world. I think it’s truly important to recognize the tremendous support the Class of 2024 received from teachers, parents, and friends,” Tang said to open the ceremony.

While the ceremony marked the end to the graduates’ high-school experience, it also represented the end of something else. After 32 years of working at the school, beloved Principal Mark Hollick has decided to “move on to the next chapter.” Houle presented Hollick with a plaque during the ceremony as the crowd – including the graduates on stage – erupted in applause.

“Throughout his remarkable career he has worn many hats – paraprofessional, teacher, coach, adviser, director, and principal. Each role has been met with unwavering commitment to the betterment of students and staff, leaving an indelible mark on our community… You have guided the school with a steady hand ensuring it remains a beacon of high-quality career and technical education for all our students… Your departure will undoubtedly be felt deeply by all of us,” said Houle.

“It is my sincere hope that you reflect in the coming days, months, and years and look back at your time at Assabet as some of the most rewarding times of your life. You have grown, you have matured, you have overcome… Today, the Class of 2024 becomes part of a 50-year legacy and tradition. You will always be members of the Assabet family and will forever be known as Aztecs,” said Hollick.

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