Vets seniors cherish graduation


A day before graduating from Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, Rebecca Hurd, 18, looked out at Narragansett Bay from a window at her boyfriend’s Pawtuxet Village home.

Taking in the calm scenery, she felt nostalgic about high school and said while she’s ready to attend Elon University in North Carolina to major in theater and minor in film, Rhode Island will always hold a special place in her heart.

“I love it here,” she said in a phone interview. “Some people think it’s lame but I think it’s beautiful and fun if you let it be.”

Hurd, Vets’ 2012 salutatorian, was one of 215 students to earn diplomas at a ceremony held at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Knight Campus last night. Along with her was valedictorian Kristen Hyle, who said becoming the top-ranking student was a goal she established freshman year.

It wasn’t easy, she said, considering she took four AP classes her senior year. But, with the encouragement of dedicated English teachers, including Julie Petitbon and Jeff Lawton, Hyle was able to pull through.

Hyle is now looking forward to attending Suffolk University with a merit scholarship in the honors program in the fall. She is humbly savoring the achievement of valedictorian.

In her speech, she said, “Every single person wearing a cap and gown today has achieved something special. After moving your tassel and taking a few steps across this stage tonight, you will have leapt into a new tomorrow. You may transform into a college freshman, a respected individual of the military or a person of the workforce. Whatever it is that you will be venturing off to do within these next months, do it with pride, perseverance and courage of conviction.”

She went on to say, “Our time at Warwick Vets has helped to shape our beliefs and cultivate our minds. We have gained understanding in and out of the classroom, and from it, have become wiser ourselves … Dunkin’ coffees in hand, we read our novels, solved our tortuous math problems and not only researched history, but made history. And so, here we stand, having pushed open those doors again the same way we did four years ago ... but this time to say goodbye, and have a whole new array of opportunities in front of us.”

As he does every year, Mayor Scott Avedisian noted something quite interesting. He said on his way to the commencement, he realized he had “gotten old,” as the members of the Class of 2012 were in kindergarten when he became mayor.

During the last 12-and-a-half years, he happily shared Reading Weeks, sixth grade graduation ceremonies, junior high school honors nights, successes on the playing field, achievements in the classroom and judging senior project presentations with students.

“I’m terribly grateful to each and every one of you for the life lessons you have taught me and so many other residents of this city,” he said. “For I have watched each and every one of you care for one another, encourage those who failed and stand by those in need. You have enriched our community, tested our limits and pushed all of us to grow.”

Principal Gerry Habershaw agreed and noted that the Class of 2012 was one of the most “compassionate” groups of students he has ever known. Many of the kids, he said, have done numerous community service activities.

“They have a concern for others and a tolerance of others,” he said in a phone interview shortly before the ceremony. “It’s unique and good to see.”

Of the 215 graduates, said Habershaw, approximately 70 percent are set to attend two-year and four-year schools. Also, nearly 35 students in the Career and Technical Center are going on to enter the workforce.

Hurd, who enjoyed most of her high school years as part of Bishop Hendricken’s theater program, recently starred in a production of the musical, “Grease.” Through the show’s finale of “We Go Together,” she explained her feelings to her peers.

“No, physically we will not always be together next year, we all have separate paths that we are embarking on,” she said. “But, no one can take away from us this moment – graduating together. We will always be the Warwick Veterans Memorial High School class of 2012. This is our finale together.”

Stefanie Alexys Abbott +#!-

Alexander Anthony Abjornson “

Ryan Eugene Adams “

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Steven Matteo Amalfitano

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Kimberly Ann Anton >

Bethanie Lynn Aurelio

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Ashley Katrina Blanchette ^

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Brian Joseph Bouchard +-

Jacqueline Alisa Bouchard +#!-

Kevin Alan Browning

Arthur Roland Brunelle III +

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Amy Ann Buchanan

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Kelsea Nicole Mary Cafferty

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Kenneth Everett Costa

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Courtney Sandra Dale

Heather Ashley Day “

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Alexander Disantis “

Kristina Marie DiSanto

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Tiffany Duchesneau “

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James E. Feeney IV

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Lawrence Thomas Ferri, Jr.

Kevin Fitzgerald “

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Taylor Elizabeth Germain !

Robert Giem

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Matthew John Grote

Marisa Kelsey Haney +

Kaianna Rose Hansen +!

Vincent Richard Hartman

Allison Caroline Heiser

Tara Michelle Hersey +#!

Emma Katherine Hindinger +#!>

Shannen Marie Houlker +>

Ashley Marie Howe

Andrew Angel Hughes

Rebecca Anne Hurd +#!-

Devin Charles Hurst +>

Kristen Rose Hyle +#!-

MaryRobin April Imbruglia

Caitlin Elizabeth Isles +

Michaela C. Jencks >

Joshua Robert Jezak

Stacey Marie Johnson >

Nicole Elizabeth Jones

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Kimberly Kiernan +#

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Frederick John Kollett III

Victoria Marie Lafond

Brittany A. Langlois +!

Alyssa Grace LeDoux “

Johanna Ellen Legault

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John Timothy Leonard

Merrill Maurice Leveillee

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Gary Scott Low

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Stephanie Alycia Lusignan

William Robert MacRae, Jr. >

Michael Terence Magrath

Domenic Malaga

Alexia Christine Manson

Marissa Marie Marcello “>

Michael Steven Maron “

Mason Andrew Martino

Robert Allen Martorelli +

Jennifer Lynn Mason +#

Nathan Robert Mattera “

Nicholas Ryan Matthews

Justin Ryan Maynard

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Jacob Alan McLinden

Richard Alan Meckes “

Ashley Amanda Melo

Robert Manuel Menezes

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Hannah Rose Messier

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Shane Patrick Moffat

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Taylor-Marie Murphy

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Jaedon Patenaude “

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Daniel Lewis Pickering +!>

Frederick Robert Pierce III

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Ashley Maria Pisaturo “

Jessica Danielle Prinz

Christopher Devon Quinn

Stephen John Rascoe

Jacob James Ray

Crismaylis Reyes “>

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Jordan Paul Rodrigues “>

Stephanie Lee Rollinson

Kevin Rosenberg >

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Alan Joseph Schuse

Steven Ryan Sears

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+ Rhode Island Honor Society

# National Honor Society

* Rhode Island Scholar

^ Societe Honoraire de Francais

! Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica

‘ Societa Onoraria Italiana

“ Career Center

- Senior Project With Distinction

> Senior Project Honorable Mention

< National Society of High School Scholars


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