The Westfield High School class of 2007 graduated at the GMU Patriot Center on June 18th in a ceremony that was unique not only because Principal Tim Thomas played his guitar onstage, but in the maturity of the behavior of the graduates during the speeches and presenting of the diplomas.
WITH MORE than 700 students graduating and 160 National Honor Society members in the class, proud friends, family and faculty gathered to watch the class of 2007 close this important chapter in their lives, and get ready to begin another.
"We had a rough year, we had a lot going on," said Beth Seger, who was presented with the Faculty Award during the ceremony. "We pulled together as a class and still managed to be successful despite our setbacks."
"The class of 2007 showed a tremendous amount of spirit in 2003 when they first came to Westfield," said Principal Thomas. "They showed resiliency and were not overshadowed by adversity."
One of the things that set the Westfield 2007 graduating class apart from many other graduations was the behavior of the students. There were no beachballs thrown around or air horns blown. The maturity of the students increased the dignity of the ceremony and made it more personal both for the graduates and for the spectators.
"I am thankful to the students for holding the ceremony in such high esteem," said Thomas, who, before the diplomas were presented, played his guitar with another teacher as student Sarah Pike sang Kelly Clarkson's "Break Away."
"The lyrics are very symbolic of a year that was full of many ups and downs," Thomas said.
THE CEREMONY opened with the Westfield Wind Symphony playing "Pomp and Circumstance," under the direction of Stephen Panoff. The Westfield Chamber Singers, directed by Jessica Lardin, sung the National Anthem. Class treasurer Lauren Bobby led the assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance, while class president Jake Bartlett welcomed everyone. Class secretary Jennifer Wisniewski introduced the honored guests, and class senator Kimberly Corcoran introduced student speaker Caty Gordon. Then Seger was presented with the Faculty Award.
"I was really excited, and I had no clue that I was nominated or anything," said Seger. "It's such an honor to have the faculty recognize you like that."
Seger was one of nine students to be nominated for the award. Students are chosen based on school leadership and overall academic achievements. Christine Mai was named the valedictorian.
After the diplomas were presented, the Chamber Singers sung the Westfield Alma Mater, and Bartlett made the closing remarks.
"It was an amazing ceremony, everyone was respectful," said Seger. "We have Bulldog pride. We pulled together as a class and supported each other."