Dare to dream
Despite National Weather Service heat warnings Friday that threatened 103-degree temperatures, 342 Lincoln High School seniors successfully graduated with due pomp and no undue circumstances.
Concerned district and high school officials moved the graduation start time one hour later to 8 p.m. Friday to make the event safer for participants, according to Lincoln High School Principal Jay Berns.
In the pre-ceremony moments at 7 p.m. on Friday night, out-going seniors assembled in the school gymnasium, hugging friends, crying and taking hundreds of selfies. Proud parents armed with cell phones urged kids into line-ups and snapped photographic memories of their students’ “last day at Lincoln High.”
The gymnasium was awash with blue gowns and golden tassels — 107 students sported gold honor cords for scholarship and 23 wore blue stoles signifying a lifetime membership in the National Honor Society.
Sixty students were awarded a total of $100,000 in local scholarships, some winning as many as nine.
And during the next four years, many 2016’s graduates will receive more than $1 million in scholarship funds, according to Berns.
When the official ceremony began at 8 p.m., temperatures had cooled and a line-up of speakers stepped to the stage.
Class of 2016 President Hollie Adams spoke about the value of making connections in life and working with others.
Class salutatorian Lauren Edwards reminded students that a successful life is earned.
“Make it a great life, Lincoln High School, or not. The choice is yours,” Edwards said.
During her four years at Lincoln High, valedictorian Penelope Garcia said that she learned to accept failure as part of life’s process and to think for herself.
Before school board trustees Kris Wyatt and Paul Long presented diplomas to the graduates, Berns buttoned up the speeches, saying that “there is greatness and accomplishment at Lincoln High School.”
Of the more than 300 2016 graduates, 70 percent are headed for higher education at two-year community colleges, technical schools and four-year colleges and universities, Berns said. Thirty percent of the class has enlisted in the U.S. military or will be going into the work force, Berns added.
During 2016, Lincoln High School won two Pioneer Valley League championships in baseball and wrestling and a boys’ section championship in both golf and baseball.
Lincoln High’s “Most Valuable Players” are Lauren Edwards and Eli Garcia.
Edwards is the class’s “Outstanding Girl” and Garrison MacQueen is “Outstanding Boy,” Berns said.
“This isn’t just a celebration for you (students) but for your parents, your teachers and the city of Lincoln,” Berns said. “You’ve done very well for yourselves, Class of 2016, and now you’re part of the legacy of Lincoln High School.”