Seniors from the Medfield High School football team posed for a picture following the end of the ceremony.
By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
For the last 13 years, students of Medfield High School’s class of 2019 have spent each school day together, working on everything from building blocks to solving algebraic equations. On the sunny afternoon of June 2, they came together to accomplish one final task: to walk across that stage and receive their high school diplomas.
Class president Maddie Coogan addressed her fellow classmates about their accomplishments and thanked the teachers and school staff who helped ensure each student’s success. “And lastly, to our understanding parents and supportive friends, I know we have all had those ‘what do you want to do after high school’ chats, and I know, more often than not, we respond with ‘I don’t know yet’ or ‘my answer has not changed since yesterday when you asked me the same question,’” she said. “But being able to talk about our futures and where we go next is an integral part of our final high school stretch,” said Coogan, earning laughs from many parents in the audience. “Everyone in this sea of Carolina would have to agree that without your love and support, none of this would be obtainable,” she noted. She ended her speech addressing her fellow students and wishing them the best for their future.
Superintendent Jeffrey Marsden picks a piece of literature to use in his graduation speech each year. For the class of 2019, Marsden read a letter written by Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens to his daughter, encouraging her to be a good person and a good teammate. The characteristics explained by Stevens match with those valued at Medfield High School. “Good teammates always put others first,” Marsden quoted. “You will never regret choosing to be kind.” Marsden continued reading the letter with his own Medfield-relevant notes. “Great teammates raise the energy in the room,” Marsden said. “Stevens didn’t mean that you have to have a larger-than-life personality, because that’s an unrealistic expectation. His emphasis here is how you treat others so you’re the person they want to be around,” he added. “When times are good, you’re the teammate others want to celebrate with. When times are tough, you’re the teammate who offers a shoulder to be leaned on … As an MHS grad, you’re a person who provides help to others, and if you need help during a tough time, don’t be afraid to ask for it.”
Anna Compson, the first of two honor essayists, focused her speech on something all recent Medfield graduates know and love: Dale Street School’s Neptune. “One by one, prickly red rope by prickly red rope, you gradually scale the monstrosity,” she said, as she described the ascent up Medfield’s most famous playground attraction. “That moment between just you, the Neptune, and the breeze, it’s pure happiness,” she said. “It’s that moment Bill Rehill hands you your license after a successful (or partially successful) parallel park. It’s the moment you hit that Google classroom submit button after that three-pages, five-hour, and more-important-than-sleep-at-one-a.m. essay. It’s the moment you find your best friend’s smile at the end of that crowded high school hallway. And it’s that moment a few minutes from now when your fingers will fold around the crisp edges of that high school diploma,” she explained, leading many parents to cry at the beautifully described memories. “It’s taken thousands of high school steps, but we’ve got to the top of our Neptune,” said Compson.
The second honor essayist, Michael Hawley, began his speech recalling his first day in Medfield schools and how one moment begat a life-long friendship. That life-long friendship exemplified the continuity that this class of Medfield students has enjoyed every day during the entire time they’ve been in Medfield. “Going to this same building every day has put a sense of continuity and consistency in our lives that we will probably never have again,” said Hawley. “We’re leaving the quiet bubble of Medfield, going into a world of independence, some of us more ready than others. I mean, I barely know where to pour the laundry detergent,” joked Hawley. He moved on, highlighting some of the “firsts” of the class. “We are the first generation of students to have computers in our pockets and the most accepting of race, sexual orientation, and gender. Yet we are also the first generation with active shooter drills in our schools,” said Hawley. Hawley then challenged his class to do better and to make the world a better place for the future. “Don’t wait for others to take charge; this is your moment,” he said, ending his speech.
For 13 years, the class of 2019 has done everything together. They accomplished the challenge of climbing to the top of the Neptune together. They’ve strived to be kind to one another. They’ve supported one another in this long journey. But this journey has come to an end with the throwing of graduation caps in the air, the one final task the class completed together. They may not be physically together for their future endeavors, but every student will surely carry the life lessons their teachers and classmates taught them during their time in the Medfield school system.