, Salem, MA

Local News

June 7, 2013

Class of 2013 reflects on 4 years

Essex Aggie graduates urged to choose their own paths

DANVERS — With their voices, Lara Carney of Gloucester and Abigail Seabrook of Newburyport provided an emotional musical capstone to last evening’s graduation exercises under a jammed tent on the front lawn of Essex Agricultural and Technical High School.

They did so during the next to the last such ceremony for Essex Aggie before the school merges into a new $133 million technical high school being built across the street from where the graduation took place.

After performing a duet of the song “For Good” from the musical “Wicked,” Carney and Seabrook, who are best friends, hugged, and the graduates, friends and family screamed and applauded the moment.

“It’s a really inspirational song and it really affects everyone,” Seabrook said of the song “For Good.”

“Because, I don’t know if you could tell,” she added, “but a lot of people were crying in the audience.” For Seabrook, who studied animal science, the moment caused memories from her four years to flood in.

Carney and Seabrook also performed a duet of the national anthem last night.

Last night’s fast-moving ceremony saw 114 graduates walk to accept their diplomas from state Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, and trustees of the state-owned high school.

“I feel so excited, like we did it,” said Erin Hardy of Lynn, a veterinarian technology major, just after graduation. “It’s surreal, it’s surreal, I can’t believe it’s happening right now.”

Before receiving their sheepskins, however, student speakers struggled to sum up what this moment meant.

Valedictorian Brittaney Leeper of Haverhill said she was at a loss, given her speech was meant to “validate” the class.

“How was I supposed to make over 100 people feel like the time spent here was worth the time and effort that we put in?” Her solution — Look up previous valedictorian speeches on the Internet. “I probably shouldn’t admit that,” she said.

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