Blackstone-Millville graduates prepared for next steps

Blackstone-Millville graduates prepared for next steps

Members of the Blackstone-Millville Regional High School Class of 2019 file into the graduation ceremony at the school in Blackstone, Friday. (Breeze photos by Bill Murphy)

BLACKSTONE – The Blackstone-Millville Regional High School’s graduating class was greeted with a light summer breeze as members walked to their spots, caps and gowns radiating gold and purple.

The 107 graduates walked through a designated path on the lawn marked by caution tape to last Friday’s commencement ceremonies. To their right, they saw their immediate families rise from their chairs while proudly smiling and waving. To their left, they saw friends, relatives, and community members who all came out to see them graduate.

Class President Cameron Cerundolo welcomed students and led off the ceremony with BMR band’s performance of the National Anthem.

Principal Michael Dudek encouraged students to take life advice from loved ones, celebrities and artists alike. He quoted Amy Poehler and Ellen DeGeneres about living life with integrity and avoiding isolation. He referenced Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and The Beatles song “All You Need Is Love” as examples of inspiration from the artists we admire.

He said over the last four years, staff taught students to think critically and to analyze and filter the knowledge and advice they receive. That should be their guiding principle, he said.

Valedictorian Mikayla Martinelli said she and her classmates will “look back on the fond memories we have created here in our small towns and use this as a reminder of our origins, for our collective past is the single thing that connects us all back together.”

She added, “And though we certainly have a long road ahead of us, if we all work hard, we can achieve our wildest dreams. We can be happy, and if anyone can do it, I believe it’s you, Class of 2019,” she said.

Salutatorian Rebecca St. Amant expanded on the potential career paths of her graduating class. In this group are future doctors, teachers, musicians, and members of the military.

“As we move forward, we need to find our passion, something that we will be able to put everything we have into every single day,” she said. “Even if this means switching majors, or switching colleges, or quitting a job to start fresh, the most important thing is to find what you love.”

Cerundolo said he believes everyone has found themselves during their time in high school. These years taught them to think for themselves and their futures.

“A seed was planted in each and every one of us as we aimlessly wandered through the halls on our first day of high school,” he said. “Four years later, we have all grown into independent, unique adults, and now it is our time to chase those dreams and express ourselves endlessly.”

The Blackstone-Millville Class of 2019 is well-prepared to step into the world with confidence and pursue the steps necessary to achieve their dream careers, said speakers last Friday.

Classmates chanted “Let’s go Bradley” as Bradley Bignac, long considered the unofficial local mayor, rose form his wheelchair to receive his diploma.

The keynote speaker at last week’s graduation was Dr. Deanna Carty, a member of the Class of 1987 who became a physician after attending Harvard Medical School.

She told students to change the world, not with some grand scheme, but with a simple effort to share moments in the day with others.

Carty told them to assemble good teammates around them, and to cheer those people on when they succeed.

And she told them to be true to themselves and to speak what they truly believe to find true happiness.

Paralyzed with a traumatic brain injury, Bradley Gignac, 19, left, of Blackstone, usually wheelchair-bound, is all smiles as he not only receives his diploma, but walks to get his diploma from Supt. Jason DeFalco at the graduation. Looking on is Tom Lomonaco, of Northbridge, Mass., Bradley’s physical therapist.
Isaac Casey smiles as he heads back to his seat after his high school career has officially ended.