Easthampton’s ‘warm cool’ class of 2024 met challenges head-on

Easthampton High School’s Class of 2024 on Friday evening celebrates their graduation by reflecting on how they overcame both external and internal challenges.

Easthampton High School’s Class of 2024 on Friday evening celebrates their graduation by reflecting on how they overcame both external and internal challenges. for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

Moira Larson, Easthampton High School’s 2024 valedictorian,  addresses the class on Friday evening.

Moira Larson, Easthampton High School’s 2024 valedictorian, addresses the class on Friday evening. for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Class Treasurer, Kaelin Damon, during the commencement processional on Friday evening. 

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Class Treasurer, Kaelin Damon, during the commencement processional on Friday evening.  for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Salutatorian, Alexander Major, addresses the class on Friday evening. 

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Salutatorian, Alexander Major, addresses the class on Friday evening.  for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

Friends and family gather at the Easthampton High School commencement ceremony on Friday evening.

Friends and family gather at the Easthampton High School commencement ceremony on Friday evening. for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Class President, Diya Bhatia, and Vice President, Ria Patel, during the commencement processional Friday evening.

Easthampton High School’s 2024 Class President, Diya Bhatia, and Vice President, Ria Patel, during the commencement processional Friday evening. for the gazette/DYLAN RAY

The Easthampton High School Concert Band, directed by Sean Uliasz, plays “Pomp & Circumstance” at the commencement ceremony Friday evening.

The Easthampton High School Concert Band, directed by Sean Uliasz, plays “Pomp & Circumstance” at the commencement ceremony Friday evening. FOR THE GAZETTE/DYLAN RAY

Easthampton High School Class of 2024 sign at the high school.

Easthampton High School Class of 2024 sign at the high school. FOR THE GAZETTE/DYLAN RAY

By ALEXA LEWIS

Staff Writer

Published: 06-08-2024 4:00 PM

Modified: 06-09-2024 12:20 PM


EASTHAMPTON — Standing before Easthampton High School’s Class of 2024 on Friday evening, state Rep. Daniel Carey couldn’t help but remember his own senior year at the school, which he spent serving as class secretary, stocking the shelves at Big E’s, and praying that the Red Sox would win.

While he told the students about his experiences in high school and beyond, he reminded them to remember the little things about their graduation day, which would be far in their rear-view mirrors before they knew it.

“Don’t take any notes on what I’m saying, but log as many mental notes as you can,” Carey said. He also advised the class to keep in mind that there are many roads to whatever destination they’re meant to reach — something he reminds himself of every day.

“Life isn’t a competition,” he said. “We are all on different paths.”

The sun peeked out from an overcast sky to shine down on the students, who were adorned with various stoles, tassels, medals, and creatively decorated caps as they celebrated their first steps into the rest of their lives.

“It’s amazing what you did here,” said Principal William Evans, who expressed his admiration for how far this class has come since their freshman year spent in the isolation of their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The way I see it, you did four years of high school crammed into three. But that was high school, and high school is done… today is the beginning of how you’re going to define yourselves as adults.”

Easthampton’s 2024 graduates persevered through the pandemic era by facing its challenges head-on, and Class President Diya Bhatia believes that this capacity to embrace life’s challenges will only continue to make the class stronger.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time here, it’s the importance of living in the moment and embracing change,” said Bhatia.

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The class of 2024’s parting gift to Easthampton High School reflects that sentiment. Kaelin Damon, class treasurer, and Erin Teague, class secretary, announced the establishment of a “perseverance award,” which will be bestowed upon a graduating senior each year who has overcome hardships to achieve their full potential. This year, it was awarded to Madison Tamanini, who displayed both personal resilience and a high-achieving attitude throughout the year.

But not all of the class’s challenges came from the outside world. Many happened within the walls of the school, where the spirited 2024 class was tasked time and again with overcoming their differences and working together, which Alexander Major, class salutatorian said ultimately brought the class even closer together.

“We have proven to be a family where we can argue together, and then immediately have the best time together,” Major said.

Moira Larson, class valedictorian, echoed this sentiment, encouraging her classmates to keep being “warm cool,” a term she and her mother came up with from a quote by author Matt Haig, which says “Never be cool. Never try to be cool. Never worry what the cool people think. Head for the warm people. Life is warmth. You’ll be cool when you’re dead.”

Larson’s speech concluded with the tossing of “encourage-mints” to her fellow graduates. “The wintergreen flavor, of course,” she said.

The class was also congratulated by Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, who quoted the Rev. Julie G. Olmsted, telling the class to “take the gold and run with it,” and Easthampton School Committee President Laura Scott, who instilled in the students the “transformative” power of goodness.

“Let your goodness be your touchstone,” she said. “The world needs you. We look forward to it.”

Graduates

Diya Bhatia, Ria Patel, Erin Elizabeth Teague, Kaelin Marie Damon, Moira Rose Larson, Alexander John Major, Elliott Leo-Tate Anthony, Liliana Louise Cohen, Summer Rowan Collins, Aubrey Sarina Crasnick, Maxwell Josef Dopp, Natalie Samantha Dugas, Landen James Ellsworth, Sophia Alicia Faginski, Rosemary Deirdre Follet, Sean Christian Gagnon, Anastasia Rose Growhoski, Arhab Mannan, Katelyn Martin, McKenzie Rose McCarthy, Emma McMahon, Emersyn Claire Nadin, Ezra Paquette

Victoria Lyn Santos, Makenna Marie Slate, Sarah Grace Stevenson, Quinn Robert Stoddard, Ava Popham Stuart, Zoraida Love Tauscher, Isla Helen Roth, Caitlynn Marie Therrien, Lukas Heath Vallas, Isabella Mary Wood, Sage Marie Young, Leah Brooke Zielenski, Sophia Basilia Aquino, Blaise Roman Baker, Alexander Jacob Bruno, Meredith May Burgess, Paul Justin Canty, Jackson Alan Charron, Jonathan William Cooper, Chase Briley Cummings, Giuseppe Anthony DeNucce-Simms

Joshua Richard DeSimone, Kayley Ann Downie, Kameron Christina English, Giana Grace Esteras, Megan Emily Fickett, Dakota Riley Flink, Julian Rivers Froebel, Kaden Foran Garvey, Madison Rayne Gliniak, Gabriel James Growhoski, Weston Orren Hill, Catherine Anne Hodge, Chase R. Hunsaker, Alison Janocha, Sydney Kayla Kleppinger, Samuel Xavier Laprade, Kadence Lee Lavalley, Jefferson Osmaro Lémus Mejía, Lucas Peter Marks, Marceline Marsland-Rello, Noah Michael Murray, Ariel Jae Meagan Mae Myers, Maja Suzanne Rasmuss O’Meally, Jack Aiden Ormsbee

Malak Oulbeid, Amy Jasmin Pantaleon Bernal, Tyler Stanley Prosciak, Joseph Thomas Querceto, Jhoy Frank Quizhpi, Jayleen Ivette Ramirez Mendez, Jeyleen Ivette Ramirez Mendez, Christopher Johnson Reardon, Sophie Taylor Redmond, Jordan Elizabeth Riel, Klaudia Mae Rivera, Dalton Patrick Slate, Madison Isabella Stone, Caleb Michael Subocz, Katherine Marguerite Talbot, Madison Grace Tamanini, Peter Hong Vo, Emily Joy Woodard

Alexa Lewis can be reached at alewis@gazettenet.com or on Instagram and Twitter at @alexamlewis.