Sunshine and smiles for Old Rochester graduates

Jun 2, 2018

The day dawned damp and humid, but the skies cleared just in time for the graduation of Old Rochester's Class of 2018.

During the Saturday ceremony, valedictorian Sam Pasquill urged his fellow classmates to never lose their sense of wonder.

"Deep down," he told them, "we're all still that five-year-old kid, curiously looking for answers."

He added that his class has always respected each other's differences—that's what makes them so strong. "They consider others' opinions as valid as the ones they hold themselves. We're an assortment of random people with unique ideas. It's through a collective effort that we've come so far, and are here at this moment."

It was a sentiment echoed by Principal Mike Devoll. The Class of 2018, Devoll noted, is made up of 193 unique students -- some of whom hail from the tri-town, others from nearby districts, and still others from different countries.

Devoll paid homage to longtime teacher Charles Howie, who retired earlier this year, during the ceremony.

"Mr. Howie and I talked for ten years, and I saved all the correspondence," he said, holding up a folder simply marked, "Howie."

As he said it, the audience, many of whom were taught by Howie themselves, giggled. The science teacher was well-known for his philosophical questions, intended to raise new questions as they were answered.

"To many of his questions, I took the easy way out," Devoll joked. "I would reply, 'I don't know,' 'Good question,' or 'You're really making me think here.' But, I want to take the chance to answer the last question that he sent me, and that question is, 'Who is the Class of 2018?'"

"It's the best class!" several seniors responded.

Devoll pointed out the strengths of the class. Some come from other countries, or are going to college in other countries. Some have studied abroad, have run three marathons, or performed in 12 Drama Club productions. Others are joining the military. Some students won athletic championships, while others took nine Advanced Placement courses.

"Really," Devoll said, "We as teachers and administrators have learned from you, and are in awe of you."