Hingham High School’s graduation was an emotional one for the more than 260 students and 1,000 observers Saturday, as the stark realities of life crept into the speeches and recognitions given by the student body.Senior Kevin Minassian, who will attend New England College in New Hampshire, took to the stage in Hingham High’s gymnasium, where the ceremony was being held to escape the rain.
Speaking about his mother, Minassian detailed how a car accident in 1995 left her with severe brain damage and in a deep depression. He outlined the struggles she dealt with for a year, until one day, she put her son to bed, and left the house in the family’s car. The car was found at Wellfleet beach four days after her disappearance, yet she was never seen again.
“Throughout this experience, I have learned numerous lessons. One is to never take anyone for granted…I have also learned to treat every goodbye as if it is the last, because you honestly do not know if it will be,” he said. “I know that many graduation speeches focus on the tomorrow, what’s ahead, the future. However, I am here to remind you to be grateful for today.”
Later, senior James Joseph Gordon received a standing ovation as he walked across the stage to get his diploma.
Gordon was diagnosed with Stage III metastatic testicular cancer two months ago, shortly after his hockey team fell to champion Malden Catholic in the state’s Super 8 tournament.
Despite the somber moments of reflection, there was still an air of celebration to the day.
Valedictorian Ariana Kam, who will attend Harvard in the fall, read a speech she had written in rhyme.
“But before we rush off in search of success/ as most of us are already half-way out the door/ realize that the people we are so prone to forget/ won’t be our moorings anymore./ Because after today, they’re closing those corridors,” she wrote.
Although the Class of 2012 is leaving, she said, she urged her peers to create and to leap headfirst into the future.
“Some of you won’t achieve what you envisioned…you might achieve something even better,” she said.
Hingham High Principal Paula Girouard McCann also detailed the class’s accomplishments. Over 230 people received $295,000 in scholarships, she said, and students have excelled in everything from academics, to athletics, to performances on the stage.
Approximately 56 percent of the student body participated in athletics, 26 teams reached the postseason, and eight made it to league championships – including the track team that missed a portion of graduation for a meet.
As great as the accomplishments have been, however, School Committee Chair Caryl Falvey said the greatest thing the class had done was to be kind to one another.
She urged them to stay involved, and to pass the gift of education – the greatest gift you can give – to future generations.