HAVERHILL — Before the speeches and before the awarding of diplomas, Haverhill High School class president Marissa Pond asked for a moment of remembrance for Joshua Bonnell, who she called “our Hillie.”
Bonnell, who was in his senior year at Haverhill High, was the victim of a tragic car crash that happened the day before Thanksgiving in a town north or Portland, Maine, where his family was vacationing.
Later in yesterday’s program, Haverhill High principal Bernard Nagle invited Bonnell’s family onto the stage to accept his diploma. The crowd stood on its feet and applauded.
“Josh was one of those kids who always had a twinkle in his eye and always made me feel good when I was around him,” Nangle said.
Originally scheduled for Friday, rain forced the postponement of Haverhill High School’s graduation ceremony to yesterday, where it was held in Trinity Stadium under sunny skies.
In her address to the class, Pond said graduation marked the birth of a new generation of Hillies.
She said her class demonstrated resiliency and perseverance over the last four years.
“Transforming our years of losing streaks into deserving victories took resilience,” Pond said. “After multiple years of losing first place status in the Christmas parade float competition to Whittier Vo-Tech, finally we triumphed over them. After the nightmare of getting our dodge ball tournament taken away, we fought back and earned it back.”
“We leave here today a united graduating class, paving the way for future Hillies,” said Pond, who plans to study political science at UMass Lowell.
“We need to hold our heads high as Haverhill High School alumni, for it is our pride in Haverhill that will hold Hillie nation together for generations yet to come,” Pond said.
Class valedictorian Sean Wrenn told his classmates not to accept failure and they will be able to achieve greatness, but if they fear the possibility of failure, they should live life with a passion for accomplishing as much as they possibly can. Wrenn plans to attend Providence College and study biology.