‘Leave a legacy’: Old Colony class of 2024 graduates

Jun 9, 2024

ROCHESTER — The principal of Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School told graduating seniors they had the world in front of them and exemplified what it meant to be an Old Colony student. 

The graduation ceremony for the class of 2024 at Old Colony was held Friday, June 7 at Oliveira Field. Old Colony has 152 students from Lakeville. 

“I will always remember this class as those who always gave their all in the academic classroom, on stage, at co-op, in the sports arena, in the vocational programs, and as genuinely kind individuals,” Principal J. Michael Parker said. “You are going to leave a legacy no matter what you do.”

As an osprey chirped overhead from a light standard, Parker told the 132 graduating students to find their place, person and thing.

“I truly hope you are all able to stand tall in the face of adversity, build bridges not walls, don’t hide your love, make people laugh, try your hardest and live your dreams,” Parker said. “Leave a legacy for you, your family and friends to be proud of.”

Valedictorian Thomas Graber said he hoped members of the class of 2024 would “always be there for each other in real life.”

“I hope we’ll all be bold, strong and have courage when we need it,” Graber said.

Superintendent Aaron Polansky said the graduates had “endured some unique experiences,” having started high school during “a time of uncertainty when our world was on shaky ground” in 2020.

“And when the ground shook, we found strength in one another,” Polansky said. “We are better because of you, and our hope is that you are better because of one another and the influence that has shaped you over the past four years.”

He told the graduates to look to grow and to continue surrounding themselves with people who lift them up and challenge their status quo. 

“Explore what could be,” Polansky said. “To become the master of anything, you must be willing first to be the fool.”

Beatrice Ashley, the senior president, challenged fellow classmates to face adversity head-on with the knowledge they “can overcome anything.”

“Let us start this next chapter of our lives and make our mark on the world,” Ashley said.

Graber, the valedictorian of the class of 2024, concluded his address with words of appreciation for Old Colony teachers, administrators and staff.

“I hope that you all understand just how talented, dedicated and appreciated you are,” he said. “You are what makes this school special.”