Sometimes, it’s for the best.
Class President Lucy Sabin “broke up” with Marblehead High School before a sea of hundreds of families, teachers and friends in the school’s field house during commencement exercises on Friday evening.
“I’ve had these feelings for a while now, and I think it’s time I tell you, dear Marblehead High School: It’s not me; it’s you. Wait, no. It’s not you; it’s me,” said Sabin to laughter. “The time we had together will always be special to me when we’ve both grown so much from this relationship, but we must move on.”
Pretending to speak to the high school, she told it to consult her “exes,” the Marblehead Community Charter Public School and Glover School, if it was “upset.”
“Parting is such sweet sorrow, but let us not make this a tragedy,” she said.
They had been only staying in the relationship “for the kids,” she said.
“You’re a little all over the place — 14 different schedules. Baby, how am I supposed to keep up?” she said. “The bell has rung for the last time, and we have to say goodbye. I thought I’d never date a high school, and then I met you.”
In the valedictory address, Yasen Kadiyski Colón said graduates are entering a rapidly changing world in which artificial intelligence is taking over an increasing number of jobs.
“However, Class of 2023, this does not worry me,” he said. “Our class is filled with the one thing an algorithm cannot replicate: personality. A computer can’t laugh like we can, can’t cry like we can, can’t find comfort in each other like we can.”
He continued, “It is our personalities that differentiate us, make us who we are and have shaped our past, from Marblehead High School, to our future, wherever that might take us.”
Setting a ‘gold standard’
Speeches arrived one after another in the 90-minute commencement ceremony filled with tradition and live music before the 220 graduates moved their tassels from right to left.
Superintendent John Buckey spoke about what he believed made the Class of 2023 exceptional, but first he mentioned the district works hard to “provide a gold standard education.”
“This class has achieved a gold standard in academics: four are National Merit Scholars; 84% of [graduates] will continue their education in two-year [or] four-year post-graduate institutions as a result of submitting nearly 2,000 applications,” he said. “We are honored to have one member of the class pursuing military service,” a statement that garnered widespread applause.
He said two graduates were the inaugural students to complete Essex Tech’s “After Dark Program,” which opens career pathways for students tailored to the needs of state and regional labor markets.
Members of the class also completed thousands of hours of community service, according to Buckey.
“In athletics, you set what one might call the platinum standard, with 30 all-conference players, 20 all-star players, seven teams winning the NEC division, three undefeated seasons,” he said. “We are extraordinarily proud.”
Meanwhile, a theme of resiliency emerged from Cate Trautman’s salutatory address. The class had spent more than a year in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Through the times of deep quarantine as freshmen, and the Zoom classes as sophomores, the mask requirements until junior year, the canceled and delayed sports seasons, we have persevered,” she said. “Through an extremely polarized political period in our country, through ALICE [active shooter] drills and constant news of school shootings, through one of the most competitive college admissions years — and even through Mr. Ryan’s sophomore English class, which was outside all winter — we have persevered.”
Opening the commencement, sisters Tayma and Tamia Johnson spoke about their METCO experiences and the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
“We were practically inseparable for the first 10 years of our lives until we joined the METCO program,” said Tayma Johnson. “In 2014, we had our first day of Marblehead Public Schools, tiny clueless fourth graders who had no idea of the journey ahead.”
Both became heavily involved in extracurricular activities, including volleyball and lacrosse.
“This experience has taught us how to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us,” Tamia Johnson said. “No matter where we are, METCO has shaped us into someone who is never afraid to try something new because that’s where the growth happens.”
Bidding Bauer farewell
Friday’s commencement concluded with Principal Daniel Bauer conferring diplomas in his last commencement before he begins his tenure as Danvers Public Schools superintendent.
“Dan Bauer has made innumerable contributions to our school and community,” said Buckey. “Jimmy Johnson, coach for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, said the difference between ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ is that ‘little extra.’ Dan has always given that little extra, and we are a better school and school district as a result of Dan Bauer being here.”
Bauer spent over two-thirds of his final farewell address pivoting the spotlight to other people and showering praise on the Class of 2023.
“I guess this is the point in the graduation speech where you offer advice, the lessons to carry out in the real world,” said Bauer. “But honestly, let’s face it: Life is a series of ups and downs. It’s really how you navigate and stay steady and work through the highs and lows. Count on the friends around you and the relationships you’ve developed.”
He encouraged the graduates to keep a positive outlook and practice kindness, an attribute that he believed could determine “the difference between success and failure.”
“One of the things that we can always do is be kind,” said Bauer as he choked up, which prompted a prolonged standing ovation. “It doesn’t cost anything.”