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Zelie Sears stood before her 165 fellow graduates in the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Class of 2018 on Saturday, June 2, and asked them to “do me a favor.”
The Class of 2018 president continued: “Take every single opportunity to do something great. Keep pushing each other to be the absolute best version of yourself.”
In her remarks to her classmates, standing in front of hundreds of family and staff members, the Pepperell resident revealed that she was shy and introverted when she arrived at Nashoba Tech in late August 2014, but that the school helped her to find the confidence in herself to run for president as a freshman. (She would lose twice before persevering and finally being elected as a junior.)
Earlier in the ceremony, valedictorian Maddison Caten and salutatorian Julia Marple, also both Pepperell residents, combined their speeches into one, with Julia reading them.
“It’s very hard to say goodbye but we are all going to go on and do good things,” she said. “For many of us, Nashoba Tech has helped us to pursue an opportunity to express our ideas in innovative ways.”
The idea that a technical education is a viable alternative to a traditional high school was echoed by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who opened the ceremony by talking about the “skills gap,” not only in Massachusetts but across the country.
Polito said the economy needs skilled workers now more than ever, and that the state’s technical schools are providing those workers.
“Nashoba Tech is one of the best schools in the state of Massachusetts, and I commend you for always wanting to do more,” she said. “This is a model we could emulate in other schools.”
Polito also took the chance to congratulate the first seniors to graduate from Nashoba Tech’s Veterinary Assisting program, which opened to underclassmen two years ago.
Also commended during the ceremony was Elizabeth Jones of Ayer, who not only received her diploma and technical certificate in TV & Media Production/Theatre Arts from Nashoba Tech, but who had a week earlier graduated from Mount Wachusett Community College with her Associate degree, thanks to Nashoba Tech’s Dual Enrollment program.