News Column

Wide-open futures await graduates Nute carries on with flower exchange tradition

June 14, 2014

By Andrea Bulfinch, Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.



June 14--MILTON -- As raindrops and flowers represent a traditional spring day, Nute High School's flower exchange tradition brought flowers and teardrops to graduates, friends and family attending the commencement ceremony for the class of 2014.

Under each of the 34 chairs set up on the stage inside the gymnasium of Nute High School Friday night, was a single rose with a name unknown to the seated student.

The roses were intended for the traditional "flower exchange," a part of the short ceremony that recognizes the bonds created throughout the graduating class, large in size this year compared to others.

"It's just a tradition," Brittany Locke said. "You just pick some people who are your friends, but mostly it's randomized."

The tradition started sometime during the 1990s, according to English teacher Doug Decker.

Once presented with a rose, a hug, and, at times, lots of tears, the offering student reached up to flip the tassel of their recipient signifying their official commencement.

"It's really awesome," said 2006 graduate Al Goodwin. "It's like that one last, 'OK, we got this.'"

Music for the ceremony included the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance," Sarah McLachlan and the schools own "Nute Beloved, Hail to Thee." But, it was the flower exchange that remained the most distinct part of the already unique Nute experience.

Goodwin, who is also a paraprofessional at the high school, delivered the commencement speech to students he's worked with since their middle school years.

"While chasing your dreams, reminding soon-to-be-graduates that at times during their post-Nute lives they will fall, "remember the times you were able to get back up."

Goodwin delivered the commencement speech to students dressed in white and purple caps and gowns and tassel of gold and purple, about to embark on the rest of their lives.

With the young adults, many of whom received scholarships and awards, Goodwin also said,"thank goodness we go to a small school."

Though he was honest about the challenges that await graduates, he compelled them to look back on their time at Nute High School as the foundation that would continue to push them further.

"Remember after that last play, that sound of people who were proud of you?" he asked. "You will hear that sound again."

Quoting a line from Mufasa in The Lion King, he told students to "remember who you are."

Remaining in step as they exited, students bolted toward friends and family as they entered the hallway.

Glenn Walsh, surrounded by peers in the hallway, said he'd be pursuing his career as a machine operator at a Northwood-based company.

Near Walsh, Peter Skillings said he'll miss the teachers who have "always been there to help."

Skillings will go on to obtain his CDL license, though he's undecided about where.

"I'm obviously going to miss all my friends," said Michele Guindon, who plans on studying early childhood education.

Kayla Libby, who credited, "the people who have put me in this spot" with her success as the ones she'll also miss, said she wants to be a doctor. She'll first attend New Hampshire Technical Institute before transferring to Southern New Hampshire University.

Students weren't the only ones proud of their accomplishments on the bittersweet evening.

"It's a relief and a lot of mixed emotions," Ben Brown said about watching his daughter Tatiana Brown graduate.

Her mother, Jennifer Brown, said Tatiana has been involved in theater and acting at the Rochester Opera House, the Leddy Center for the Arts, and Players Ring, since "forever."

"Now she can do her thing," said Jennifer Brown, who is ready to see her daughter make her way to the lights on Broadway.

Delivering a succinct ending to his speech, Goodwin left students with the following words before the presentation of diplomas.

"On your mark. Get set. Go!"

The following are members of the 2014 graduating class at Nute High School: Sarah Arrain; Dylan Baron; Tyler Bedgood *; Tatiana Brown; Sarah Chase; Brandon Christian; Heidi Cloutier *; Jazmin Cort; Matthew Cummer; Brent Curlee *; Mariah Fen-Elli *; Bryanna Galarneau; Steven Gaulin; Jessica Gcro *; Ella Gourlay *; Isabella Graham; David Grant; Michelle Guindon; Caitlyn Hassen; Colby Leduc; Kayla Libby; Brittany Locke *;

Jessica McCassie; Damon McGlone; Rosalie Myler; Christina Pappa; Cole Poth; Andrew Rawson II; Julie Saufley; Peter Skillings; Even Snow; Scott Staples; Jeremy Theriault *; Glenn Walsh; and Ethan West.

The * denotes National Honor Society members.

___

(c)2014 the Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Visit the Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.) at www.fosters.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)


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