By Alex Lippa
---- — PLAISTOW — On a cloudless, sunny morning, 382 graduates of Timberlane Regional High School were reminded of their perseverance through darker times.
David Augusta of Sandown, who was entering his senior year at Timberlane, and Evan Dube, a 2012 Timberlane graduate, died last year.
These tragedies brought members of the Class of 2013 together, forging tight bonds between them. Superintendent Earl Metzler recognized those bonds, at yesterday’s graduation.
He commended students for handling several tragedies throughout their four years at Timberlane.
“You have been tested many times,” said Metzler, at his first commencement as superintendent. “Some of the most difficult tests are when you needed each other to get through these very difficult times. You became stronger each and every time.”
Rebecca Bassi, co-president of the National Honor Society, held a moment of silence for Augusta.
“We came together as a class and did every senior event with him on our minds,” she said.
Principal Donald Woodworth also took time to recognize the senior class for attending a Day of Compassion on a Sunday in honor of Dube. The day allowed the class to graduate as scheduled.
While parts of the ceremony focused on sad topics, the majority of the ceremony was festive. The graduates wore smiles as they marched onto the football field to receive their diplomas — the women in white gowns, the men in maroon.
Valedictorian Nicholas Quirk compared their high school experience to putting together a puzzle.
“The joy of making a puzzle is in assembling it,” he said. “It’s not about looking at it after it’s done.”
Salutatorian Emily Swanson also recognized the many events which led to graduation day.
“We have waited for the single moment of graduation day for most of our lives,” she said. “But we have been experiencing it all along. Life may have a destination, but it is not the final moment that shapes us. It is the journey along the way.”
Students Kayleigh Larin, Jennifer Dill and Brett Paley and associate principal John Leary also spoke during the ceremony.
Aven La Rosa of Atkinson said she felt surreal as she prepares to leave Timberlane to go to Rutgers University.
“It’s the end of a big chapter of our lives, but we all have big futures ahead of us so it is definitely exciting as well,” she said.
Katherine Ester of Plaistow said it was time to move on from Timberlane.
“It feels strange at first but then it eventually starts to feel normal,” she said.
La Rosa said it may take her a few days to realize she will never be a student at Timberlane again.
“I’m picturing myself still going back to school on Monday morning,” she said. “I think it might hit me next week when everyone is at school and we’re sitting on our couches.”
Karen Roberts of Plaistow said her daughter Paige’s time at Timberlane went by too fast.
“I’ve been pushing this off for a while and trying not to think about it, but here we are,” Roberts said.
Darlene Deptula-Hicks of Plaistow said above all else she was proud of what her son Casey had accomplished.
“A lot of hard work was done to get everyone here,” she said. “So I’m very excited for everyone. It’s been an amazing twelve years.”