Granby graduates look toward future



Published: 06-04-2017 1:18 PM

GRANBY — After six years at Granby Junior Senior High School, the 79 graduates who walked across the stage Saturday are looking toward the larger world — while staying thankful for their community.

Saturday marked the next chapter and the start of adulthood, salutatorian Sarah Couture said, but assured graduates that when life gets too tough, they always have a small town to fall back on.

Graduates filled the stage wearing commencement gowns in royal blue and white. Their family and friends filled the a gymnasium, running up for hugs and photos as names were called.

The community comes together for graduation ceremonies, Principal Jonathan D. Cavallo said, and it shows that the single greatest asset in the town is the educational system.

“Many of you have taken the most rigorous courses that we have to offer,” Cavallo said. “In fact, 75 percent of our graduating class have taken at least one advanced placement course.”

He predicted 90 percent of graduates will go off to study at a two- or four-year institution, 8 percent will attend an alterative school, 1 percent will go to the workforce and 1 percent to armed forces.

Graduating senior Caroline Cyr plans to take a mission trip to work with children in Kenya over the summer, then hopes to play soccer for Worcester State University.

Jordan Bessette said she plans to attend Springfield Technical Community College to become an ultrasound technician.

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Bessette’s cousin Joseph, who is also a graduate, said he’s going up to Maine for the summer and then plans to go to STCC to train in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.

While students are going in different directions, valedictorian Kathleen Sullivan said they have left their mark at school — from athletic championship banners to paintings that catch the eyes of those who walk down the halls.

For English teacher John Berneche, there’s a significant moment with the class of 2017 that he remembers most.

It was in October, when the school held a Special Olympics soccer camp — Berneche’s eight-year-old son Michael was one of the athletes participating.

At home, Michael never got the hang of soccer.

“Whenever I would kick the ball, he would pick it up and run away with it,” Berneche said.

But in a few hours of coaching and mentoring by the Granby students, Berneche said his son was kicking a ball like he was born to do it.

Berneche said Michael’s face was lit by a smile of pure joy, that only got brighter when he saw his father’s “glow of parental pride.”

“You guys did that. You guys gave me that moment of bliss,” Berneche said. “And I can’t thank you enough for it.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at