Class of 2021 shines through graduation


Owen Jones

Throwing their mortarboards in the air, graduates of Algonquin celebrate the end of one part of their lives and are ready to begin the next part.

Katherine Wu, Assistant A&E Editor

The class of 2021 officially finished their high school careers at the 58th annual graduation ceremony—a sea of maroon gowns and intricately-decorated caps in the 90-degree weather on June 6.

Due to COVID-19, the ceremony was held on the football field instead of the gym, which is the traditional location. Each graduate was allowed to bring up to four guests. As the seniors made their way onto the field, the classic song “Pomp and Circumstance” played.

Next, a recording of the national anthem sung by senior vocalists Laine Bechta, Sarah Cassidy, Nicole Castilla-Villamil, Jordan Chastanet, Nathan Jagh, Isabelle Lagasse, Abigail Lemieus, John Meehan, Miranda Slingluff and Sravya Tanikella was played, before transitioning onto Superintendent Gregory Martineau’s speech welcoming the guests and congratulating the 388 graduating seniors. 

“It’s okay not to know exactly where you are headed,” Martineau said, after telling the story of physician Albert Einstein losing a train ticket. “You may have your train ticket punched for college, the military or a career. What is important is to enjoy the train ride. Connect with other passengers along your journey. Learn from those who you meet, and set goals for a destination. And if you lose your way or your ticket, rely on those conductors around you to support your goals and help you find your way.”

Following Martineau’s speech, senior class president David Gillingham delivered a speech to remind his peers to stay connected with each other beyond high school.

“Let’s remember this time and these people,” Gillingham said. “All too often, our past becomes mere memories that are relegated to the back of our mind until they are forgotten…and while we should never live in the past, we also must be unafraid to carry parts of our lives into our future. So keep in touch with your favorite teachers; they have more wisdom to share. Let your high school friends become your lifelong friends.”

Next, the senior class essayists Fabiha Karim and Jake Clancy delivered a memorable speech reminding their classmates of the past four years they spent together.

In Principal Sean Bevan’s address, he thanked the soon-to-be alumni for welcoming him to Algonquin and wished them luck on their future endeavors.

“My only advice is what you have learned already from your teachers, parents and each other,” Bevan said. “Mostly, just think back to what you learned in those hero tales. Step outside your comfort zone, and accept the help you need when you need it. Without doing those things, Arthur never is king and Marlin doesn’t find Nemo…It’s what the ritual of graduation is all about: crossing a threshold.”

Following Bevan’s speech, class advisors Brittany Burns and Shawn Stains presented the graduation candidates, school committee chairperson Joan Frank awarded diplomas, and Bevan certified the candidates.

Finally, Gillingham led the class in turning their tassels.

“To signify your graduation, will you please move your tassels from the right to the left,” Gillingham said, with a brief pause as his peers started moving their tassels. “…On the count of three.”

Shortly after the laughter subsided, the class of 2021 threw their caps and officially became Algonquin graduates.

Principal’s administrative assistant Michelle Capalbo played a huge role in planning the event, which has video replay available here

“I think people might not be aware of how much work goes into it and how many people were involved,” Capalbo said. “It’s not just the diplomas you see onstage; it’s getting the setup for the stage, procession, parents. There’s so much involved in it; it takes a village.”

Despite all the hard work required, Capalbo believes this was one of the most successful graduation ceremonies. 

“I’m proud of how beautiful it looked on the field out there, which the facility all set up,” Capalbo said. “I thought it was very impressive with the white chairs and having it outside, and everybody could come together. I think this was one of the best graduations we’ve had.”