WINCHESTER — Millbrook High School valedictorian Hope Hawthorne encouraged her classmates to never forget the lessons they’ve learned so far.
“We must not forget the lessons that we have learned from all the bumps in the road. The bumps in the road are inevitable — just do not get stuck there,” Hawthorne said.
Hawthorne gave her address Friday night at the Pioneer Stadium during the Class of 2019’s graduation ceremony. School administrators awarded 328 graduating seniors their diplomas during the event.
The key to life, Hawthorne went on, is to move forward even when you get knocked down. She added that during her time at Millbrook she spent many hours studying, possibly missing valuable life experiences from doing so. But, she said, she doesn’t regret her high school experience.
“Do not regret anything from your life, but learn from your failures and mistakes to change the future,” Hawthorne said.
Hawthorne, who is graduating with a 4.7 grade point average, is going to the University of Pennsylvania to study biology. She was also the senior class president at Millbrook.
Friday night’s ceremony began with the tradition of ringing the bell by Millbrook’s teacher of the year — Amanda Madden. Madden teaches health, driver education and physical education. Before commencement, Madden gave a speech to the seniors before their final walk through the halls of Millbrook as students.
Collectively, Millbrook’s Class of 2019 has earned $1.1 million in scholarships, completed 5,000 hours of community service and earned 429 industry credentials through Career and Technical Education courses.
Millbrook’s salutatorian Colby Sherwood said one perk of graduation will be having more freedom, including the freedom to go to the bathroom without having to sign in and out.
“We are now being thrown into the world,” Sherwood said. “But I’m confident that we can rise to the challenge. We can become leaders and influence positive change.”
Although the high school journey has had its high and low points, Sherwood said, he’s lucky to have gone on the journey with his classmates. But this journey is only marking the beginning of their lives. Sherwood, who is graduating with a 4.6 grade point average, will head to James Madison University to study math.
“If we were playing the board game of life, we’d still be on the first space,” he said. “We’d still have the rest of the game to play, more choices to make and plenty knowledge and skills left to acquire.”
Sherwood then left his classmates with one final challenge, quoting Nikki Six of the band Motley Crue — “Let’s rock the house.”
Following the distribution of diplomas, the ceremony came to a close with a release of doves.