Superintendent Harper addresses Class of 2018

2018 graduation banner

On Friday, June 1, Superintendent Harper addressed the Graduating Class of 2018 at Greenfield High School. 

Superintendent Harper's remarks:

Good Evening to the Class of 2018!

Esteemed parents, teachers and staff, School Committee members, elected officials, alumni, friends, welcome. And of course – to the Senior class – let me add my CONGRATULATIONS to the Congratulations you have already heard tonight.

The GHS graduating class of 2018 is both brave and adventurous. In thinking about this class and some of their accomplishments, I was reminded that some of our students recently took a trip to Spain and France, and others in this class took part in the Global Glimpse service trip to Nicaragua. These trips that our students have participated in have got me to thinking about travel, and the opportunities travel presents to learn about life.

Here are a few lessons from travel that will serve our graduates well.

  1. First, it helps to be prepared. Pack your bags. Study up on where you’re going. Get the right currency. And bring what you need, but not too much, because too much luggage can weigh you down, and make your travel less enjoyable.

  2. On your way to the airport, plan to arrive early. Be ready for unexpected delays. A little extra traffic, a long airport security line - could be the difference between you getting to your destination, and stuck in airport limbo. Besides, a little waiting never hurt anyone, and anticipating what’s to come is part of what makes it worthwhile.

  3. Next, it’s time to choose your seats. What kind should you pick? Will it be the window seat – so you always know what’s happening and can take in the views? Or the aisle – so it’s easy to get in and out, and you’re poised for action when the plane lands? Or maybe you’re the easy-going type and will take any open seat as long as you’re near your friends. What matters here is to know yourself and choose what suits you the best. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. And if you don’t get what you hoped for – maybe you booked an exit row with extra leg room, and you wound up in a crowded center seat – it’s time to be flexible. Because, no matter what seat you’re in, you’ll still get there in the end.

  4. Sometimes the unexpected happens, in a good way. Your flight is overbooked but you free upgrade to business class; the person sitting next to you turns out to be famous; or, the airplane food just isn’t as bad as you’d feared. When something positive happens unexpectedly, be grateful.  

  5. Next, when you reach your destination, don’t stay in your hotel room. Go out and explore. Talk to people that know more than you do. It’s good if you have an itinerary and a plan of what you want to do, but don’t be so stuck on preconceived ideas that you miss the best discoveries – that little out of the way eatery that turned out to have the best cannoli, perhaps, or a place that opens your eyes to a new way of thinking or being, or introduces you to a new person that will remain a forever friend.

  6. Realize that your way of doing things is not the only right way, and work to embrace differences. Depending on where you go, you might find people travel on a different side of the road than you, speak a different language, call rotaries roundabouts or soccer football. These differences are what makes us unique, and there is no one right way.

  7. Know that when you return home, you will not be the same. You will have been changed by your experiences. Maybe you’ve learned to speak a language fluently, visited the cultural sites, or formed new friendships. Carry these experiences with you, like a passport, because they will be with you your whole life. As you continue to learn and grow, your whole life becomes a journey, and your travel becomes your destination.

  8. But travel is not all about where you are, or how you get there. It’s about who you’re with, and who helped you get there. Appreciate the people and teachers in your life that brought you this far, and the people that will be by your side as you set out on your next journeys. You don’t know where your travel will take you, but you do know that there are some people who are worth having by your side no matter where you go. Surround yourself with those people. Be one of those people. And tell those people, when you find them, how much they matter. They may be your friends, your parents, your teachers, your siblings, your coaches, people you haven’t met yet. Whoever they are, make sure you are there for them, too.

To summarize, whether you have traveled the world already or have stayed here in Greenfield, these lessons - be prepared, arrive early, know yourself, be flexible & grateful, Go out and explore, embrace differences,  continue to learn and grow, and appreciate the people in your life –  will serve you well as you take off from GHS and soar into your future.  So relax, and enjoy the flight.

We are proud of how far you have come, and we wish you well on your travels. GHS will always be your home.

Congratulations, Graduates.


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Scroll down to see some photos taken by Recorder/Paul Franz!


2018 GHS Graduation picture

2018 GHS students graduating

2018 GHS students doing pledge of allegiance

2018 GHS Graduation student speech

2018 GHS Graduation student speech picture 2

2018 GHS graduation band performance