Recorder: "‘Together, we are the Green Wave’: Greenfield High School grads reflect on companionship, celebrate endurance"

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Photo credits: Matthew Cavanaugh

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 6/6/2021 5:27:26 PM

GREENFIELD — Endurance was the trait that Greenfield High School Principal Karin Patenaude identified when describing the graduating Class of 2021 at Saturday morning’s commencement ceremony.

“If anyone owns the rights to this word, it’s you,” Patenaude said in her address. “You did not have a choice in any of this, yet you engaged and overcame all the obstacles that were thrown your way, and you succeeded.”

Patenaude added endurance alone does not describe this group of students as they are also courageous, kind and dedicated.

“Yes, you endured this past year, but you are built for overcoming anything,” she said. “You have been doing it for years and nothing, not even a global pandemic, can stop you from the greatness that we see before us today.”

Salutatorian Jacob Frank wrote a poem where he described the ceremony as a light that “shines away the lingering darkness” and highlighted the importance of togetherness.

“Alone, we’re merely drops of rain,” Frank said, “but together, we are the Green Wave.”

Class President Willow Scappace told her classmates to not always reflect on the bigger picture, but the smaller moments in life, like a car ride with friends.

“Allow yourself to make those smaller memories in order to make that beautiful masterpiece,” Scappace said. “Allow yourself to get lost in the weeds.”

Scappace, who will be attending Syracuse University in pursuit of a master’s degree in social work, said before the ceremony she is thankful for the faculty and staff who made this year possible.

“I just want to say thanks to all the teachers who worked so hard,” Scappace said. “It’s awesome to see everything everyone has done.”

Owen Rhayne, whose post-graduation plans include moving across the country, said he is glad this year is over, especially because he spent the school year entirely remote.

“It’s been a pretty hard year,” Rhayne said. “I’m glad I’m not going (to graduation) on a Google Classroom.”

Alexis Farrick, who is taking a gap year and may enlist with the U.S. Air Force, said this year has been surreal and she was glad to be graduating in person.

“It did not seem like a real senior year,” Farrick said. “It was a big hurdle to overcome. It feels amazing. We all knew we were going to get to a graduation, but we didn’t know where.”

Felix Pruitt-Dahl, who will be attending the University of Maine at Farmington for psychology, said he hopes no one else will ever experience a school year like this.

“I’m glad kids younger than us won’t have to go through this their senior year,” Pruitt-Dahl said. “We missed out on a lot. … We missed out on a big developmental phase.”

Eva Pruitt-Dahl, who is Felix’s twin sister and will be attending the University of Massachusetts Boston in its pre-med program, said she is happy to have an in-person graduation and despite a bleak year, there were some positives.

“I’m grateful to have graduation in person,” Eva Pruitt-Dahl said. “Quarantine brought us closer together.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or at 413-930-4081.

For more graduation coverage, including graduates’ names, award winners and speeches, see the Recorder’s June 30 special section commemorating the Class of 2021.