NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Don’t ever be afraid to show your true self, Narragansett High School Principal Daniel Warner told the class of 2019 during its graduation on June 13.
“You are an incredibly talented and wonderful class,” Warner told them. “And it’s been my honor to serve as your principal.”
The class of 102 graduating seniors received their diplomas in a ceremony at the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center.
“Go out and change the world. Make your mark. It’s time to build upon what you’ve learned and show the world what you’re made of. I think you’ll surprise yourself,” Warner said.
He also lauded the seniors for their kindness and compassion when he underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in early December, and during his recovery.
“Your notes and letters of support … really helped me get through a few difficult days. It meant a great deal, and honestly, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you.”
This year’s graduation was extra noteworthy, because the class of 2019 includes five students who were the first four-year cohort from Jamestown. Warner also had the Jamestown students stand and be recognized for the achievement.
Valedictorian Owen McCadden said the class was fortunate to have grown up and received an education in Narragansett, a tightly-knit small town.
“We grew up playing in safe neighborhoods, relaxing at the town beach, and learning in the best schools,” he said. “We have been provided the chance to get involved in anything we want, and along the way we have always had the support of our outstanding teachers who devote so much time, effort, and love to help us learn and grow. Each of us has gotten something different out of our community. Whether we were involved in sports, academics, music, or anything else, Narragansett has given us the tools we need to thrive and succeed.”
As the class departs and begins adulthood, it also assumes new responsibilities, McCadden said.
“We have degrees to earn, skills to master, technology to invent, diseases to cure, businesses to start, hands to shake, laws to pass, memories to make, passions to pursue, responsibilities to bear and freedom to enjoy. I’m excited for what’s to come in our future and I hope you are too. As a class, let’s take advantage of our freedom and do great things.”
The commencement address was delivered by social studies teacher Mathew Joubert. He urged the graduates to embrace laughter, in good times and bad.
“Never lose your sense of humor,” he said. “No matter how challenging your situation’s likely to be, laughter will help you to be more positive, and to connect with people in your lives.”
The commencement was sprinkled with moments for the seniors to shine again before receiving their diplomas.
Class historian Grace McGrady led the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Mollie McGrady and Grace St. Jean sung “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and senior class vice-president Shannon McDonald presented a class ode that took her classmates on a grade-by-grade trip down memory lane.
The high school’s chorus performed the senior song, “I am Still Your Dreamer” by Pinkzebra, and also the school’s song, “Onward March the Mariners.”
In a touching move, Helena Melchiori and Charles Ashworth presented the class gift, a scholarship in memory of Grace Reddington, a local 14-year-old and fellow student who passed away in April after a long struggle with Rett Syndrome, a neurological condition. The class also gave $1,000 to the Rett Syndrome Foundation.
Salutatorian Ben Farman said an underclassman he tutors asked him if he had any regrets throughout high school. Farman thought about it.
“Sure, there were moments we all try to forget,” he said. “But in reality, each and every experience we have had - in the classroom, on the field, or anywhere - has shaped us into the incredible people we are today. For this reason, we must stay consistent and keep moving forward through all the events in our lives. When we fly, we must stay grounded.”