WESTFORD — The Westford Academy Class of 2022 graduated this past Friday, June 3, and was the first class in two years to experience graduation without masks, social distancing, or other COVID-19 protocols.
As the Westford Academy band played “Pomp and Circumstance” and the 2022 seniors entered the ceremony on the school’s athletic field, a sense of satisfaction and relief began to fill the air; as the first “back to normal” graduation ceremony since the beginning of the pandemic commenced.
Once the senior class arrived, the audience rose as the band played the National Anthem. Westford Academy Principal James Antonelli then entered the field as he began to present his opening remarks.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you say, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel,” Principal Antonelli said, quoting poet Maya Angelou as he opened the class of 2022 graduation ceremony.
“Not only have I witnessed amazing musicians, actors/actresses and student athletes this year, but more importantly I have witnessed overwhelming perseverance, and generosity from these students,” he continued, referring to the hardships the students faced during the pandemic. “It has been my honor to serve you as principal.”
Following the Principal’s opening words, guidance counselor Karen Halloran introduced the class of 2022 salutatorian, April Collamore. In addition to earning the honor of salutatorian, April is a member of the National Honor Society and a holder of the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction.
Once April was presented with her recognition as class of 2022 salutatorian, guidance counselor Brian Doherty presented the class of 2022 valedictorian, Tejas Kudva. Tejas is also a member of the National Honor Society and additionally was the captain of the school soccer team, an avid volleyball player, and a volunteer at the Lahey Clinic.
The recognition of the valedictorian was followed by a special honor to the class of 2022 officers, class president Victoria Princi, vice president Ragini Kannan, secretary Jay Talwalkar, and treasurer Tanya Vasireddy. This special recognition was signed off with a performance of “Alma Mater” sung by the Westford Academy Honors Choir.
Next up, the class of 2022 speaker, Tadgh Sheamus Murray, was introduced. In his speech Tadgh explained that he never realized how much the Westford Academy community meant to him until his father was hospitalized with cancer, and he received overwhelming support and assistance from the school community.
Tadgh also said that he will never forget the memories he made while at Westford Academy and that he learned many valuable life lessons that he will bring with him into the future.
Once Tadgh concluded his speech, Westford Board of Trustees members Kevin Regan and Ryan Dunn introduced the Most Worthy Representatives of Westford Academy and Academic Excellence Awards.
Lastly, before the presentation of diplomas by the Westford School Committee, Superintendent Dr. Christoper Chew presented his congratulatory remarks.
“Today is all about you, your accomplishments, your goals, your ambitions,” Dr. Chew said. “I have witnessed a lot of great change in you all,” he continued. “Change is scary but change is necessary, and change should be expected as it is connected to all the things that we have learned.”
“Echoes of ‘don’t ever change’ were ever present at my high school graduation,” Dr. Chew said, “but I think change is a good thing, because I don’t think you can learn without change.”
After Dr. Chew’s congratulatory remarks, members of the class of 2022 performed their class song, “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors. The ceremony was then finished with finals words from class president Victoria Princi, and with that the Westford Academy class of 2022 had officially graduated.
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