321 AHS graduates hear encouragement; $4,300 donated for inclusion

2015 graduation procession class=2015 graduation procession at Peirce Field. / Bob Sprague photo

 UPDATED, June 6: The clouds held back until 321 seniors of the Arlington High School Class of 2018 sat down at Peirce Field for commencement ceremonies, but then the rain came. Just as all had in the previous four years, they endured.

“This class has experienced a great deal,” AHS Principal Matthew Janger told those gathered. “This class is the first class, I’ve said this before, where the Student Council and Captains Council came together to try to create an inclusive community. That doesn’t mean we are an inclusive community, but it means we’ve been striving together to achieve that goal.”

Jeremy Kremer-McNeil, who died in the fall of 2015, was a member of the Class of 2018 and was given an in memoriam diploma at the June 2 ceremonies. The Madrigal Singers sang Pink Floyd's “Wish You Were Here” after a moment of silence. Kremer-McNeil’s friends Wilson Li Sosna and Elijah Marshall Vandermel spoke.

Olivia Graceffa, president of the Class of 2018, said her classmates had dealt positively following incidents of vandalism and graffiti at the school in early May. She said the remaining $4,300 of their class fund will go toward the Class of 2018 Grant for Inclusion and Diversity.

“People always say not to make graduation speeches cliché,” Student Council President Laura Kirchner said in her address, “but the clichés are true because they are built from universal experiences. And this, this is our uniquely universal experience, Arlington High School.”

Paul McKnight, an English teacher at AHS who was elected faculty speaker, distinguished between “being and becoming” and said: “We can recreate ourselves, our relationships, our communities, large and small, each day if we so choose. And if we do not all yet feel a responsibility to do so, at the very least, I hope we can recognize what our role is.”

This news announcement was published Wednesday, May 30, 2018, and updated June 6.