44 grads carry the torch at Hopkins Academy

Class of 2024 graduate Leo Russell smiles for a photograph with his grandmother Diane Russell, left, and cousin Chelsea Russell, right, after Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Leo Russell smiles for a photograph with his grandmother Diane Russell, left, and cousin Chelsea Russell, right, after Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduate Alma Gorman, left, hugs Class President and Valedictorian Jayce Lanzafame during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley last Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Alma Gorman, left, hugs Class President and Valedictorian Jayce Lanzafame during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley last Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduates Liam Flynn, center, and James Fitzgibbons, right, are congratulated during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony last Friday.

Class of 2024 graduates Liam Flynn, center, and James Fitzgibbons, right, are congratulated during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony last Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduate Cassidy Fyden sp.eaks during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Cassidy Fyden sp.eaks during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduate Carter Whitney receives his diploma during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Carter Whitney receives his diploma during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduate Joseph Frometa receives a congratulatory hug after Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Joseph Frometa receives a congratulatory hug after Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Class of 2024 graduate Astrid Williamson receives a hug during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday.

Class of 2024 graduate Astrid Williamson receives a hug during Hopkins Academy’s 360th graduation ceremony in Hadley on Friday. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER EVANS

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 06-06-2024 7:25 PM

HADLEY — Gratitude to families for their support in making a difference in students’ lives, appreciation for staff and administration who impacted education, and plaudits for the larger community were expressed throughout the Hopkins Academy graduation ceremony last Friday evening.

“I wanted to make this whole speech about thank yous, but I could not, because I’d have to be here all night,” Valedictorian and Class President Jayce Lanzafame told the crowd in a filled gymnasium.

Speaking directly to her 44 classmates on the stage, part of the 360th class at the school, Lanzafame noted their hard work, ability, strength and perseverance, praising several by name, and suggested they thank each other as well.

“I urge each and every one of my classmates to thank themselves because, at the end of the day, it is you who has carried the torch through all you have been tried with,” Lanzafame said.

After a brief procession into the gym with the playing of Pomp and Circumstance, the students were greeted by Principal April Camuso, who commented on the leadership, community and spirit of the Class of 2024. She also described how the generous, humorous and adventurous class had held itself together through challenges of COVID pandemic as they were beginning their freshman year.

Lanzafame said doubts and failures are likely as students leave Hopkins, but they shouldn’t give up.

“In each one of you lies the recipe for success, and these next steps in life will secure you the ingredients,” Lanzafame said

She did remind the graduates that the rebuilding of the main road through town could be a metaphor for the challenges they will face: “However, like Route 9, the road to success is always under construction,” Lanzafame said.

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During the ceremony, a series of awards were given and $29,600 in scholarships were presented by the Hopkins Academy trustees, with graduates proceeding past the stage to receive them. As diplomas were handed out, graduate Cooper Beckwith unzipped his robe and removed a hidden confetti popper beneath it that he promptly launched over the teachers.

The class invited Juliana Farina Ramage, a former science teacher who had a brief tenure but a lasting impact, to give the address.

Ramage told the class that they made her dreams come true to teach in a small community with magic in the soil.

“Never forget Hadley, no matter where life takes you,” said Ramage, who suggested the graduates also to leave to explore the world and then return to make their town better, and to never stop learning.

As is custom, the class also honored a distinguished graduate, choosing Brianna Rossi, a member of the Hadley Police. Rossi told students to keep each other’s backs and stay in touch.

“The opportunity to do whatever you want in life starts now,” Rossi said.

Before the ceremony, graduates posed for a traditional photograph in front of the school, and then parents, families and friends took snapshots of members of the class on the lawn.

For those, like Alexis Selig, a lifelong resident, graduation marks the conclusion of being with classmates she has known throughout her elementary and secondary years.

“It’s been fun, a great experience,” Selig said of attending Hopkins. “I’m going to be sad to miss all the people here.”

Selig, though, said she will still be in the area attending the University of Massachusetts, as she pursues a degree in sport management and operations and information management at the Isenberg School of Management.

Another graduate, Jackson Graham, moved to Hadley when he was in eighth grade from the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Graham will next be heading to Boston to study pre-law at Suffolk University.

“It’s been super fun, and the environment here has been super welcoming,” Graham said. “It was a big change from Texas to Massachusetts, but I felt so welcome.”

Graduates

Haaris Mohammed Ahmed, TresorLilAkimana, Dominic Bartolo Aloisi, Jasmine Sofia Amaya, Alyvia Ann Bailey, Hunter Francis Baj, Julia Grace Beaudry, Briana Marie Beauregard, Cooper John Beckwith, Kelly Geovania Borges Tavares, James William Burke, Jessica Lynn Campbell, Muhammad Saad Chaudhry, Trevor Matthew Ciaglo, Christian Kieras Ciolkos, Aurora Lindsay Donta-Venman, Grant Archer Donta-Venman, Beau Martin Elson, James Peter Fitzgibbons, Liam Patrick Flynn, Ellias Samuel Forbes, Joseph Sebastian Frometa, Cassidy Lyn Fyden, Ryder Michael Gallo, Julian Ashton Gaudette, Alma Rose Gorman, Jackson Campbell Graham, Yuuki Douglas Ishida, Jayce Josephine Lanzafame, Cassidi Read Mushenski, Bimal Vijaykumar Patel, Cygne Poppy Tahirih Rogers Patenaude, Jackson Laurance Paul, Lucas Alexander Red Owl, Angela Katie Regish, Christopher Russell Rex, Leo George Russell, Isabelle May Salgado, Aliya Jamie Scanlon Dean, Alexis Jordan Selig, Tyler Duncan St. Hilaire, Tristan Richard West, Carter David Whitney, Astrid Kaye Williamson, Natalie Adele Young.