98 seniors graduate from Manchester

By Eric Christiansen

NORTH MANCHESTER -- The Manchester High School Class of 2021 celebrated an end to one chapter of life and a move ahead to the next, as they turned their tassels, making their graduation  official Friday night, May 28, 2021.

The Manchester Concert Band played the processional as the graduates entered the Manchester Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.

Student Council president Gavin Mize welcomed families and friends to begin the ceremony.

Senior Choir members sang “Blessing” by Katie Moran Bart, followed by Co-Valedictorian Trescott Duffy addressing his classmates.

Duffy spoke on the importance of persistence, whether it is in sports, music, or grades.  He talked about his journey in wrestling.

“For my entire high school career, my life was wrestling,” Duffy said. “I slept, breathed, and ate – or in other words, didn’t eat – wrestling. It became my passion. When I first got into it, I had very little skill and very little success, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.”

He said that during his freshman year, a teammate reached the state finals, and Duffy went to support him.

“The whole atmosphere … was intriguing to me,” he said. “The large stadium, the huge crowd – all of it inspired me. I wanted to be bet the one to get my hand raised on the mat in front of thousands of people and be recognized as one of the greatest in the state.

“Everything I did from that moment on, I did it with wrestling in mind.”

Three years later, Duffy said he battled with the decision to wrestle at a lower weight than he weighed at the time, which would give him a better chance to advance to state.

“I wasn’t confident enough in myself to wrestler at a heavier weight class, and in refusing to do so, I spoiled my senior season,” he said. “Thinking about it now, my senior year wasn’t about proving my self (but) it was about protecting myself.

“I think this is relatable for a lot of us,” Duffy added. “If you focus on the past, and continuously worry about protecting your title or accomplishment being taken from you, then you may as well just be stuck in the past, reliving the same moment over and over again. If you instead, keep looking forward and build off of what you’ve already accomplished…you’ll be better off for it.”

Following Duffy's remarks, Sarah Holbrook and Carissa Edwards performed “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.”

MJSHS Principal Dr. Jon Lippe presented honorary diplomas to exchange students Lorenzo Donati and Lenny Hindennach, followed by Karen Jimenez-Saucedo singing “The Climb” made famous by Miley Cyrus.

Co-Valedictorian Elijah Burlingame next spoke and related fishing to life lessons.

“Fishing has been a constant fixture in my life and has shaped me as a person in more ways than I can explain,” he said. “I have spent countless hours on the water, hoping and praying for that exhilarating tug on the end of the line, and while I’ve waited, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that apply to life as well.”

Burlingame listed patience as the first lesson.

“Sitting in a boat for hours on end without so much as a single nibble forces you to be patient,” he said. “I had been on a quest for Musky for three years with no success, and finally caught one on the Tippecanoe River. Thinking back to the feeling of lifting that fish out of the net, admiring its slimy flanks and its toothy jaws, I realize that the wait only made the reward that much sweeter.

“In my experience, many thing reward patience as well, so hang in there – it’s worth waiting for.”

Burlingame urged his classmates to never stop adapting to the situation.

“When you’re on the water, the conditions are never perfect, and the fish rarely respond the way you want them to. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you want to be successful, you have to constantly change your approach.”

Burlingame said the most important lesson he has learned from angling is that it isn’t the fish you catch that matter but rather what you experience while trying to catch them.

“Fishing would be a truly miserable pursuit if you only enjoyed catching fish,” he said. “For me, fishing means getting close to nature, listening to the songs of hundreds of birds as they fly through the trees, feeling the sunshine gently warm my shoulders, and observing the scenery with every bend in the river.

“Remember, it’s not always what lies at the end of the line that matters most.”

Logan Blocher and Aries Naranjo teamed up to play “Listening On Purpose” before.

Mize, the third Co-Valedictorian, addressed his classmates by reading the day’s announcement, as he has been doing with salutatorian Torina Runkel all school year, but he said it didn’t mean that everybody was listening.

“It’s uncountable the amount of times my friends would ask me in math class, “What’s for lunch?” after I had just announced it mere hours before,” Mize said. “It’s ok, I forgot, too.”

Mize said that speaking is a fundamental part of communication.

“The most crucial aspect is listening, not just hearing,” he said. ‘Not just catching some words or phrases, but also listening. Taking your time to think, digest, and comprehend a message. I see people just hearing our regurgitated, predetermined responses over and over, but not listening to the legitimate ones.”‚Ä®Mize stressed that the way in which peoples’ voices are not listened to is damaging to relationships, whether they are potential or established.

“This system leads to discontent, retaliation, and in growing instances, violence,” he said. “Is this the sign of educated and critically thinking minds? Are we going to be those who have years and an mind, but not listen to the things that concern us? For whatever it may cost, we must change personally and collectively.”

Mize shared a system his mother uses whenever somebody is upset at someone for something they said or did.

“Think of your top ten list of people, the ones that love you and care for you,” he shared. “Is the person who upset you on your top ten list? If not, why do their words matter.”

After Manchester Community Schools Superintendent Teresa Gremaux shared remarks to the graduates, Lippe presented the Class of 2021 while MCS Board President David Terflinger accepted.

After the presentation of diplomas by school board members, Senior Class President gave concluding remarks and led her classmates in the Turning of the Tassel.

Posted on 2021 Jun 08