EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 13, 2013

N.H. seniors are ready to receive diplomas

High school seniors ready to say goodbye

WINDHAM — There was a good sign at Windham High graduation practice yesterday: Class of 2013 T-shirts outnumbered Boston Bruins’ T-shirts.

This week is all about getting priorities straight.

Principal Tom Murphy, speaking to the seniors during a rehearsal, walked through some of them.

“If for any reason they mispronounce your name,” Murphy said, gesturing toward class advisers Jill Bartlett and Jared Cassedy, “today is the day to tell them. Your family will be there and we want to make sure we get it right.”

There are lots of names to get right, 163 of them.

Murphy coached the students on how to get through the graduation line.

“The biggest thing you’ve got to know is who’s in front of you and who’s behind you,” the principal said.

Windham’s seniors are among about 2,300 graduating over the next few days in Southern New Hampshire.

Judging by the mutual applause and cheers as the faculty read their names, they are more than ready.

“I am really excited, looking forward to going to college and doing something new,” Ryan Cleary, 18, said.

He is off to the University of Maine to study athletic training.

Some know it will be an emotional moment.

“I am really excited right now, but I know I will be sad at the time and this will be bittersweet,” Bernadette Connors, 18, said.

She is bound for Bates College to study economics.

Some are reflecting on how high school changed them.

Brandon Neal, 18, recalls football making a big difference. He went out for the team junior year.

“That really broke me out of my shell and I got really good friends,” said Neal, who will attend Nashua Community College with a goal of moving to a four-year university to study psychology.

There are cherished memories.

“Being back-to-back state champs in wrestling,” Jeremy Cocciardi, 19, said.

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