, Derry, New Hampshire

August 8, 2013

Pinkerton student earns his diploma

By John Toole

---- — DERRY — Brandon Paquette conquered cancer. Now he’s conquered geometry, too.

Weeks after Pinkerton Academy refused to let him walk at graduation with his fellow seniors because he had failed to pass geometry, Brandon last week got his diploma in the mail.

“It’s about time,” Brandon said he told himself when it arrived.

His mother was happy, too.

“Oh, my gosh, it was so exciting,” Kristine Paquette said, “the best feeling.”

In June, Brandon said he was very disappointed and thought it unfair Pinkerton wouldn’t let him walk at graduation with his classmates.

Pinkerton headmaster Mary Anderson said at the time the decision came down to what graduation represents.

“Graduation is meaningful; it recognizes students who have met the requirements for a high school diploma,” Anderson said.

Brandon wasn’t expecting a diploma that night in June. He knew he would have to earn that later. He just wanted the experience of being with his pals.

“He was let down, not being with his friends,” his mother said.

They went to dinner and shopping, and stayed away from graduation night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.

“He didn’t go,” she said. “That would have been too painful.”

She is proud of son for what he has accomplished.

“I told him, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’” she said.

Despite his disagreement with Pinkerton, Brandon bears no ill will toward his alma mater.

“It’s one of the better schools around here,” he said. “I made a lot of friends.”