DERRY — Tomorrow is inevitable and life will continue to change, but now is the time to face the future with intensity and excitement.
Those were the words Pinkerton Academy Class of 2021 Valedictorian Isabelle Limperis offered her fellow classmates Monday night, as she and about 700 others prepared to receive their high school diplomas.
“Today marks the moment we embark on the next step of our lives,” Limperis said. “We, together have made it to this very moment, but certainly not without difficulty.”
Pinkerton Academy hosted its commencement two hours later than originally planned due to the high temperatures during the day. This class was also the first in the school’s history to graduate under the lights at Memorial Field.
The ceremony began with a recording of the traditional tolling of Pinkerton’s famed bell as a long line of soon-to-be graduates dressed in red filed up the hill and onto the field led by junior class marshal Aidan Kane, carrying the cane that once belonged to one of Pinkerton’s founders, Maj. John Pinkerton.
For Limperis, the day gave the graduating seniors a chance to reflect on their time together, mainly the past year that posed many challenges due to the pandemic.
“I wonder if anyone could have envisioned that this would be how the journey ended?” Limperis asked. “Being faced with a pandemic threw our lives for a loop, but only momentarily.”
She told her class that it’s normal to have fears when wondering about the future, but with all that happened in the past year, graduates are well prepared.
“We have been trained to fear what is to come, programmed to never settle for uncertainty, taught to seek for familiarity,” Limperis said. “But why should we fear the change that the future holds when we’ve lived through such a time of unimaginable change?”
Limperis said it’s time for one life chapter to close and another to open and she concluded by challenging her fellow graduates to find their passion.
“Do not fear the future, for our future mistakes may mold us into better people. Embrace your past,” she said. “Find what gives you the adrenaline to seek the future — to desire change. We the Pinkerton Academy graduating Class of 2021 have made it through the most tumultuous of times and in spite of it all, we have come out on top.”
Class Salutatorian Shaley Nolan celebrated the fact that the entire class was sitting in the same location for the first time in a long time, due to remote learning, hybrid schedules and other pandemic-induced restrictions.
She urged her fellow classmates to take one thing away from the past four years — be kind.
“No matter where life may take you or whether you place first, second or last, just be kind,” she said. “As a salutatorian, a lot of people have asked me what my greatest achievement has been, but I can promise you it has nothing to do with class rank, in my opinion, kindness is the greatest accomplishment that we could ever achieve.”
Headmaster Dr. Timothy Powers said that this class made a positive difference over the past year.
“And you are the class that reminded us about the things that are important,” he said.