Old Colony graduates to bring “empathy and care” to the community

Jun 1, 2023

ROCHESTER — “Tell them Old Colony sent you,” was superintendent Aaron Polansky’s parting advice for his students as he handed them their diplomas. 

Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School held its 47th commencement on Thursday, June 1. 

Family members and friends prepared to cheer on their loved ones in the summer heat with umbrellas, fans and confetti poppers. 

In his superintendent-director’s address, Aaron Polansky reminded the class of 2023 to continue to display empathy and care as they move on to their careers. 

“Go high when others go low,” said Polansky. “You hold the doors for our visitors and find ways to elevate the people around you, it is who you are, it is who we are, it is the part of the Old Colony experience that isn’t taught by a text book.”

Senior Class President Chaz Aguiar congratulated his peers for their achievements.

“We have come a long way from eating our Flintstone gummies before we got on the bus for our first day of kindergarten,” he said. “This moment marks the combination of our countless years of hard work, perseverance and memories that will forever shape our lives.”

Valedictorian Jacob MacKinnon spoke about his experience completing high school with Usher syndrome — a genetic disease that causes hearing loss and vision problems.

“I want to tell everyone that no matter your circumstance or ability, you can succeed,” he said. “You can still reach your goals with effort, determination and support,” he said. 

MacKinnon reminded the class of the resilience they have developed due to attending school during the Covid pandemic.

“The class of 2023 is the first class on the planet to complete all four years of high school during a global pandemic,” said MacKinnon. “Even during the most trying times of Covid you have pushed forward, our class overcame so much adversity.