Graduates say fond goodbye to NDHS

MD-North Dorchester High graduation tassle toss 3x

Dorchester Banner/Gloria Rojas
North Dorchester High graduates do the traditional “tassel toss” at the NDHS flagpole.

HURLOCK — It’s a final tradition at North Dorchester High School that ends outdoors at the flagpole. The tasseled caps sail high into the air and as they descend, graduates and guests know it’s all over. A new adventure begins for the 107 students who have their high school diploma in hand.

The speeches made it clear; this 60th graduating class was extraordinary. They began their first day of high school with an actual earthquake, a sure sign that the arrival of this class would mean shaking things up. The class had one valedictorian, Jenna Murtagh, with the highest average, but this hard-working, competitive class had THREE salutatorians — Jessica Hardy, Paige Thomas, and Thomas Tyler — tied for second place. That is rare. A very high percentage of the Class of 2015 is headed for college, tech schools and the military. They collectively earned more than two million dollars in scholarship money.

Chris Wheedleton, a successful businessman and no stranger to the school, gave the commencement address. Mr. Wheedleton graduated in 1988 from North Dorchester, the same school where his parents met, where all their children attended, and even at this ceremony a nephew was graduating. Mr. Wheedleton spoke about his own unpredictable path to success, and using a very colorful metaphor, told the students, “The path to success is not a straight line … it is more like climbing a jungle gym. You clamber up, you go sideways, you even hang upside down. The top is there.”

Guests at the North Dorchester graduation included proud mothers, fathers, grandparents, godparents, uncles and aunts, all of whom have played a part in reaching this ceremony of high school graduation. When asked, “So what did you do to get your graduate to this point?” invariably they laughed, probably remembering some incident, some struggle. Nonetheless all had similar answers. Margaret Whitten from Secretary, ”Love and support.” Valerie Roberson from Hurlock, “Love and discipline.” Pastor William Hitchens of Cambridge, “Encouragement, you can make it.” Chris Carter of Cape May, NJ, “Lots of encouragement and support and discipline.” From the stage, one student speaker thanked the parents for being their biggest support.

They have completed this first big step, and in their own words, students spoke of leaving the nest, possible setbacks and hurdles, but also endless possibilities.

MD-North Dorchester High graduation kids on stage 3x

Dorchester Banner/Gloria Rojas
Graduating students of North Dorchester High School fill the stage at the recent commencement ceremonies.

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