Congratulations Class of 2020

Graduation ceremonies across the state certainly look different this year.  Ashland Elementary School celebrated its graduates in a very personal way.  Students and their families participated in individual graduation ceremonies, which included marching into the gym to “Pomp and Circumstance”, presentation of diplomas and traditional moving of their graduation cap tassel.  Students shared their prepared comments and awards were presented during their allotted graduation time. The entire event was recorded and compiled into a virtual graduation ceremony video.  The video was shared with the graduates and their families on a large screen on the AES field. 

After a welcome message from student Aaron Desmond, several speakers provided encouraging remarks and solid advice for the soon to be high school students. Superintendent Mary Moriarty congratulated the graduates on reaching this important milestone.  “You have persevered through a challenging time and practiced resiliency which will serve you well in all aspects of your life.  Although monumental, these last few months so much more defines you as individuals and as a class.  You are thinkers and writers; mathematicians and scientists; creative problem solvers and civic minded people; artists and athletes; kind and compassionate; and yes, you are now alumni of Ashland Elementary School.”

Student speakers Abigail Mudgett, Eliza Foote and Laura Liebert shared a variety of thoughts and feelings with their classmates. Ms. Mudgett reminisced about the wonderful times they had shared as a class and recognized their many talents.  “Who knows…you might be looking future doctors, teachers, actors and basketball players.”  Ms. Foote and Ms. Liebert’s comments celebrated the many ways that their Principal, Dr. Shannon Bartlett, has affected the lives of the class of 2020.  Ms. Foote said, “You have exposed us to new opportunities and provided us with a well-rounded education.  You are involved in our learning, but you also care about us, our teachers, our family and our community.”  Ms. Liebert added, “To be able to look back, reflect and reminisce is one of the greatest gifts.  However, it is more rewarding when you are able to reflect on positive experiences.  You have given us the ability to do just that.  Because of you, we became friendly peers, active citizens and intelligent learners.”

Mrs. Carrie Sanborn, National Junior Honor Society advisor, recognized Ashland Elementary School’s newest NJHS inductees Abigail Mudgett and Aaron Desmond.  Inductees are selected based on their academic performance, community service and commitment to the AES Core Values. Each was presented with a special medal.

Mr. Steve Heath presented the 2020 Sportsmanship Awards to Aaron Desmond and Jasmine Comeau.  These students demonstrated strong leadership, commitment and compassion in all of their athletic endeavors.

Mrs. Christine Cilley, of the Ashland Dupuis Cross American Legion Post 15, presented Eliza Foote with the Legion’s Certificate for Distinguished Achievement.  This award is presented to honor a graduating student’s citizenship, courage, honor, scholarship and service. The recipient of this distinguished accolade is also presented with a medallion, a monetary award and their name is entered on a plaque at AES.

The students along with their families, community members and school staff then enjoyed the traditional, often sentimental and sometime humorous slideshow featuring each class member from their early years to the present. 

Dr. Shannon Bartlett, the final speaker of the night, began by acknowledging the disappointment of not being able to participate in one more Project Week or travel to Lake George for the much-anticipated 8th grade trip.  “All of these things events would have ended your AES adventure with joy and laughter; creating memories that would carry you forward into high school and beyond.”  She continued, “While I cannot give you back the things you have missed, I can remind you of all the wonderful, crazy and cool things you have experienced and accomplished during your time at AES.  It is my hope that these memories will not just make you smile, they will highlight the courage, strength and resilience that each of you have inside—and prove that you are well-prepared for whatever the future holds.”  She then shared several of her favorite moments and adventures with these students.   She ended with, “Class of 2020, your next adventure is about to begin.  Do not waste another minute lamenting what didn’t happen this year.  Instead, consider all the amazing things that will happen next.  Show the world how brilliant and special you are.  We could use some real Super Heroes right now.