The future is now for Northampton High’s class of 2024 as more than 200 graduates say goodbye

 Vianca Franqui fans herself before going inside the John M. Greene Hall during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024.

Vianca Franqui fans herself before going inside the John M. Greene Hall during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Reed Mitchell, left, and Dev Patel pose together outside before going inside the John M. Greene Hall during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024.

Reed Mitchell, left, and Dev Patel pose together outside before going inside the John M. Greene Hall during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Lucy Braudis, left, and Jordan Hutchins, the co-presidents for Northampton High School’s class of 2024,  stand together during the class’ graduation ceremony.

Lucy Braudis, left, and Jordan Hutchins, the co-presidents for Northampton High School’s class of 2024,  stand together during the class’ graduation ceremony. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Members of  The Northamptones a capella group perform during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024.

Members of  The Northamptones a capella group perform during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Sabrina Hopkins, the Northampton Student Union president, addresses her peers  during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024.

Sabrina Hopkins, the Northampton Student Union president, addresses her peers  during the graduation ceremony for the Northampton High School class of 2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

From left, Koji Aquilano, Sophie Calkins, Galen Fowles, Elias Krasny, Noah Leaf and Ursula von Goeler appear on stage to receive the Academic Excellence Award for maintaining a 4.0 during the graduation ceremony for Northampton High School class of 2024.

From left, Koji Aquilano, Sophie Calkins, Galen Fowles, Elias Krasny, Noah Leaf and Ursula von Goeler appear on stage to receive the Academic Excellence Award for maintaining a 4.0 during the graduation ceremony for Northampton High School class of 2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Dan Littlefield, a social studies teacher at Northampton High School, receives flowers after being named the Mary Gray Teacher of the Year Award by members of the school’s class of  2024.

Dan Littlefield, a social studies teacher at Northampton High School, receives flowers after being named the Mary Gray Teacher of the Year Award by members of the school’s class of  2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

 Roan Dunkerly, left and Henry Racine talk outside the John M. Greene Hall at Smith College before heading inside for the graduation ceremony for Northampton High  School’s class of  2024.

Roan Dunkerly, left and Henry Racine talk outside the John M. Greene Hall at Smith College before heading inside for the graduation ceremony for Northampton High  School’s class of  2024. STAFF PHOTO/ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 06-02-2024 10:00 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Sunday marked a turning point in the lives of Northampton High School’s class of 2024, the day they would finish their lives as high school students and move on out into the world to start their post-secondary life. For some, it was a day that couldn’t come soon enough.

“I’m kind of ready to leave this town,” said Reed Mitchell, who plans to study physics at the University of Maine. “There’s a tiny hint of something that a big chapter of my life is over, but mostly I’m just ready to move on.”

Many expressed an optimistic outlook about their future and experiencing a newfound independence.

“It’s been a fun journey, and these are all the kids and people I’ve grown up with my whole life,” said Roan Dunkerly, who will stay in the area to study political science at UMass Amherst. “But it is really exciting to be going on to college and a new stage in life.”

More than 200 students walked down the auditorium at the John M. Greene Hall at Smith College to receive their high school diplomas before turning their tassels and throwing their caps into the air to mark the end of four years of what was sometimes a turbulent high school career.

This year’s graduating class started as freshmen attending classes on computer screens due to the COVID-19 pandemic before eventually returning in person. In their senior year, many of the students found themselves engaging in various forms of activism, staging a school walkout to protest the war in Gaza as well as occupying the Northampton mayor’s office in protest of planned job cuts in the school district for next year’s city budget.

Sabrina Hopkins, president of the Northampton Student Union who was selected by her class to speak at the graduation ceremony, referenced her class’s passion for activism in her speech, saying she admired the various ways members of her class showed resistance through protest and dared to question the status quo.

“I’ve seen peers refuse to complete assignments that share a harmful narrative. I’ve watched classroom discussions where students and teachers discuss what we can do better as a school to support our students,” Hopkins said. “These demonstrations are at the heart of who we are. At Northampton High School, we stand up for what matters.”

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The graduation ceremony also featured performances by the Northampton High School Wind Ensemble and the Northampton High School Chamber Choir, as well as the school’s a capella group The Northamptones. Six students were presented with the Academic Excellence Award by Superintendent Portia Bonner for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average: Koji Aquilano, Sophie Calkins, Galen Fowles, Elias Krasny, Noah Leaf and Ursula von Goeler.

Dan Littlefield, a social studies teacher at NHS, was also honored with the school’s Mary Gray Teacher of the Year Award. In a speech to the students, Littlefield also praised the class’s commitment to social issues.

“You manage social anxieties, navigate extreme technological dependencies and engage in real world activism striving to make our communities more just,” he said. “Thank you for giving this cynical sociologist and his family hope.”

Littlefield also advised students that no matter where their careers take them, they should try to find value in the work that they do.

“Knowing what values are important to you can change over time and take a variety of experiences to reveal themselves,” he said. “Therefore, try lots of things. And in the words of my Uncle Jeff, try your best … but whatever.”

Graduates

Juan Jose Adams Causton, Tyler Jason Akanhay, Jose Manuel Alicea, Sky Sweetser Allen-Brezsnyak, Zoey MacRae Ames, Koji Andre Espinas Aquilino, Bushra Ibrahim Asha, Aliya Rotas Axelrad, Ava Mary Azzaro, Elsie Clare Cobb Baker, Anthony Ellison Bartlett, Theodore Matthew Bayne, Jake Jules Bell, Ezra Ley Benjamin, Yamilet Marie Bermudez

Hazel Frances Bernhard, James Keith Bertone-Johnson, Athena Carlisle Bogdan, Lucy True Braudis, Alex Michael Brin, Felix Craig Brooks-Quijada, Xiaohan Beatrice Brunton, Alex Hemenway Brush, Yelena Glumac Caldanaro, Sophie Paige Calkins, Maverick Shea Carey-Chilson, Desmond Diego Carnevale Hexdall, Asher William Carswell, Noa Kai Carter-Weidenfeld, Darick John Casella, Emaline Aya Cesere, Maisey Jade Clark, Rico Clark

Jonah Star Mintz Coccoluto, Silas Chamberlain Coles, Alessio Andres Colon-Ferranti, Donovan Chefran Cruz, Soven Michael Curry-Letendre, Holden Wiley Dalhaus, Noah Carl Daube-Valois, Ari Robert Daube-Valois, Catherine Faith Dawkins, Kamdyn Elizabeth Defranco, Kevin Avery Delton, Dalia Eilidh Dembling, Chloe Apple Derby, Isabelle Grace Dinh, Connor Mize Drummond, Roan Nathaniel Raley Dunkerley, Zachary Ryan Elder, Caiden Michael Emerson

Liam David Ewers, Gus Patrick Fallon, Marisa May Finn, Sean Michael Flynn, Galen Grace Fowles, Vianca Lynn Franqui, David Edwin Galvin, Amy Joyce Gingras, Elijah David Goldstein, Trayvon Robert Goodman McNeil, Madeline Grace Gorman, Ellie Bradley Gottschalk, Mars Rylie Goyette, Arlo Robinson Green, Georgia Bright Greene, Ada Albert Griffin, Heidi Elizabeth Hansen, Ruch Elva Harden, Thai Daniel Hardy, Tatum Renee Hathaway

Alison Margaret Heywood, Douglas Lee Highsmith, Gabrielle Claire A Hinds, Sabrina Roberts Hopkins, Josephine Maree Roberts Hopkins, Daniel Patrick Horton, Ryan Gregory Howard, Claire Abigail Huntley, Jordan Avery Hutchins, Alex Jabari Ives, Katie Ann James, Silas Slim James, Geo James Arjuna Jessup, Rainier William Jewett, Ashanti Odessey Javina Johnson, Alyssa Kaylee Jost, Rozlyn Ann Kaufman, Angela Jiah Kim, Phoebe Hope Astrid Fein King

Theodore King-Pollet, Ryan Andrew Kirkendall, Koa Joseph Klose, Elias Simon Krasny, Julia Cate Krivoy-Einhom, Nevin Santiago LaBrusciano, Juliette Gabrielle Langer, Noah Samuel Leaf, Alejandro Caballero Leiva, Haonan Li, Emily Rose Lippiello, Piper Abigail Livingston, Samuel Arthur Lockett, Emanuel Ramon Lopez-Reiss, Olivia Lowy Orzolek, Ella Nuru Maclachlan, Lily Carolina Manseau, Sabrina Stefania Marquez Valencia, Mia Angelique Martinez, Sincere Jose Martinez

Marty Paul Maslowski, Jack Doyle Mattison-Gulotta, Rosa Maya, Vivien Brooke McAmis, Mae Gail McCullough, Ella Fay McGough, Amir Michael McKamey, James Michael McNally, Harrison Leo Mechem, Kai Fitzgerald Mehlman, Leo Felix Merleaux, Isabelle Rose Micallef, Reed Gerard Mitchell, Sarah Elizabeth Molnar, Jimmy Jeremiah Moore, Clementine Helene McMaster Mulcahy, Florine Esther Chaplin Mulcahy, Lila Mary Nields-Duffy

Julia Grace Noe-LaRose, Mykal Anthony Nonis, Finn Avery Norsen, Amelia Bernard Norton, Benjamin Donald O’Connor, Jonathan Michael O’Connor, Marcus Angelo Oquendo, Adrian Ortiz, Maxwell Stone Page-Lacoff, Tyler Jeffrey Palm, Amelia Christina Cannon Paradise, Jonathan Gabriel Parker-Yourga, Liam Thomas Machnik Parr, Sanza Blaze Williams Parzybok, Dev Ajay Patel, Oscar Edward Patterson, James Morgan Payne, Adrean J. Peloquin, Jasmine Phou

Colette Rose Piotrowski, Joseph Anthony Pisano, Emilia Pisinski-Cutler, Olive Gordon Polson-Filas, Jessica Acker Quintana, Daniela Isabel Quinteros-Parrilla, Henry Racine, Salvador Ramirez Garcia, Edith Realegeno Flores, Willa Schlereth Remick, Sophie Jeanette Reynolds, Caroline Elise Riordan, Jelenyse Marie Rivera, Jobelis Nicole Rivera Carattini, Gerrit Charles Roessler, Grey Kalina Roessler, Alma Elisabeth Rendina, Alexander Kai Torre Rosen, Jade McDevitt Rousseau

Matan William Shulman Ryan, Sophie Maeve Sabach, Adriana Camille Sabino Molina, Isabel Patricia Samolewicz, Lilian Yun Sanford, Nolan Leo Schmit, Fiona Rose Scibelli, Mira Arielle Serlin, Reyna Giovanna Singh, Alex Malikin Sirois, Oliver Howard Smith, Alina Williams Sokop, Summer Cate Sorensen, Adrian Alberto Soto, Calvin Corwith Spencer, James Darwin Stauder, Jamal Isaac Stedman, Rosa Jeanne Sullivan-Merrick, Sieanah Dardah Taylor, Jonathan Lee Terrell, Ava Claire Thorsen-Vera, Maisie Charlotte Tuck

Jacob Ribeiro Van Der Woude, Jasper James Vergo, Ursula Margarethe von Goeler, Maxwell Galen Watermill, Oona Barnes Weaver, Macy Isabella Westgate, Davis Jackson Wheat, Reece Nolan Wilber, Myles Calandra Willers, Lucius Lightning Wolf-Wahton, Olivia Polk Wright, Julia Moore Wyman, Elisabeth Catherine Yunga, Andrea Zelada-Delfin