SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 11, 2013

Masco grads ‘on top of the world’

Jo Kadlecek
Correspondent

---- — TOPSFIELD — Painting a lively contrast in their red-and-white gowns to the dreary rain outside, all 304 members of Masconomet Regional High School’s Class of 2013 literally danced in the aisles and bleachers last night while classmate Peter Guarino sang their theme song, “On Top of the World.”

The song, by indie group Imagine Dragons, couldn’t have been more appropriate: though theirs is the smallest class in years, they’ve won more individual and corporate awards and honors than any class before them. That includes 10 Cape Ann athletic titles, with a shot at a baseball title this past weekend.

Together, they’ve raised thousands of dollars for the Make a Wish foundation, clocked countless hours helping the hungry and serving their neighbors, and have participated in numerous research projects, internships, theater productions, global education and artistic endeavors over the past four years, all while completing the 110 course credits needed to earn their diplomas.

The graduates called their time together a “collaborative creativity,” said Pamela Culver, Masconomet’s principal for the past 16 years, who is retiring this year after 55 years in education.

“You are the final class of my career and leaving Masconomet is hard and scary for both of us,” Culver said. “Yet we know we have limitless possibilities.”

Culver reminded the graduates that when they were in kindergarten, the new regional school (for students from Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield) was being built, and when they came in as freshmen, she challenged them all to meet each graduation requirement. “And you have. You’re one of only two classes in 32 years who has not left any student behind,” she said.

That might be because the class of 2013 included the “best people around, champions, even a cancer survivor,” senior class vice president Nicholas Rioux told his peers. Rioux advised his classmates to, “avoid trying to be what others already have been. Role models are good, but no one will ever be a better Bill Gates than Bill Gates, just as no one will ever be a better Tom Brady than Tom Brady.”

Rebecca Phillips, a 2013 member of the student advisory board who first addressed her peers when she ran for eighth-grade class officer, challenged the graduates “to remember each other’s faces. You’ll see them again as they run for office, perform on Broadway or are on the covers of albums and books. Life doesn’t begin and end in high school; it’s a stepping stone.”

Graduation marked a “crazy” transitional time, but mostly, according to senior class president Michael Dillon, it reminded graduates of, “the responsibility we have to serve others for the common good. We all have potential for true greatness. Our contributions will help others face the obstacles of life.”

The Tri-Town Council sponsored an all-night event for the class of 2013 after the ceremony. Parents of seniors and juniors planned the night and volunteered to chaperone, as local businesses also contributed to the effort.