EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

May 30, 2014

'A dream come true' at Whittier

Class president set graduation address as goal 4 years ago

HAVERHILL — Ever since he was elected president of the freshman class four years ago, Liam Burns said it was his personal goal to give the graduation address to classmates at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

But to do it, he would have to keep getting re-elected president of his class — something he accomplished while setting an example of dedication to his academic work

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Burns, 17, of Haverhill, said last night, as he closed out his speech at the school’s 40th annual commencement exercises.

“I have loved being a Wildcat and coming to Whittier Tech every day,” said Burns, who’s had perfect attendance since the first grade.

“I have also loved being class president and writing and delivering this speech,” he said.

Burns was one of four members of Whittier’s 297 graduates to complete their High School education without missing a day of school. Jessica Eaton, Christopher McAuliffe and Kosiochukwu Onwuka also had perfect attendance.

During an animated speech — which mixed in humor with class pride while focusing on serious education points, Burns touted the academic success of the Class of 2014 that he has witnessed as a student leader.

“It’s not the trade school it was 40 years ago when Whittier opened its doors for the first time,” Burns told the crowd gathered at Whittier’s stadium behind the High School.

“We are just as smart as students from other public and private schools. We take the same MCAS and SATs as those students and go to the same prestigious colleges. It’s what you put into it and we have all put a lot of hard work into getting to where we’re sitting today,” he said.

Seventy percent of this year’s class will be going onto college. Another 27 percent have jobs lined up and 3 percent plan to enlist in the military.

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