Dartmouth High School graduates 150th senior class

Jun 5, 2022

Oh, the places they’ll go!

Dartmouth High seniors — and their proud families — gathered in the gymnasium on June 5 to celebrate the graduation of the school’s 150th class.

“To put into perspective how long ago DHS began turning out graduates and how far we’ve come since then, consider that in 1872 the Civil War in the United States had ended only a few years prior,” said Principal Ross Thibault during the ceremony. “Through Reconstruction, two World Wars, depression, recession, and a couple of pandemics, Dartmouth High School has continued to produce outstanding graduates prepared for success no matter what this world might throw at them.”

The class was made up of 264 students, a number Thibault called “about average.”

“Not that this class is average,” he added. “It’s not — It’s been phenomenal.”

After Thibault greeted the students and visitors and explained the historical significance of the class, he welcomed a selection of students to the stage to speak on behalf of the class.

Starting the speeches was Class President Charles Fairfax, who spoke about the unexpected joy of returning to school after Covid pushed classes online two years ago.

“I want you to remember what it felt like — how great it was — when we got back to school,” he said. “Who knew? Who knew how much we actually liked and missed being in school. What a revelation!”

Next, valedictorian Katherine Quinn addressed the audience, delivering a speech about the virtues of acceptance and compassion.

“The gift of empathy for what another person may be experiencing is powerful and strengthens one’s spirit,” she said.

Quinn cited several examples of moments from her high school career when she witnessed “moments of empathy, kindness, and greatness” like seeing players carrying their injured teammate off the field or the spirit of inclusivity embodied by the unified sports program.

Class Vice President Katherine Charrier introduced the ceremony’s keynote speaker, Class Advisor Jessica Lassey.

Charrier praised Lassey’s dedication to the students of the class and the immense effort she put in to make sure each fundraiser, event, and milestone went off without a hitch.

“I’d like to say on behalf of all the students in this class and myself, we are so grateful for everything you’ve done,” she said. “You taught us how to be kind; how to take each day and make it into your own; how to laugh at ourselves; and how to find and showcase what makes each of us unique.”

In her own speech, Lassey implored the class of 2022 to recognize the beauty in themselves.

“Don’t wait as long as I did to fall in love with yourself,” she said.

Finishing out the ceremony was Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bonny Gifford, who spoke about the lessons we can learn from our canine companions.

“If a dog was [your] teacher, you’d learn things like: when your loved ones come home, always run to say hello; never pass up an opportunity to go for a walk; allow yourself the experience of fresh air and wind…” she said. “This is the secret to happiness that even if we don’t realize, dogs teach us daily.”

When the speeches were over, students were called to the stage one by one where they received their diplomas from School Committee Chair John Nunes.

After the last students had returned to their seats, they turned their tassels — signifying the completion of their high school careers — and tossed their caps high in the air.