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Hats off to the Class of 2010!

SHS confronts future

It’s caps in the air as the Southbridge High class of 2010 celebrates the conclusion of Sunday afternoon’s graduation ceremony. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
June 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Family and friends in the audience for Sunday's Southbridge High graduation have mixed views of what kind of world the 69 new graduates will face over the next 10-20 years.

"The challenges I faced when I graduated are the same ones they face," said Ben Phillips of the Class of 1999 while sitting on a riser in the humid gymnasium. To him, two of the most important are technology and how it has been putting distance between people; to compensate for that, the new graduates need to work on building community, he said.

When asked how he thinks things will be in 20 years, Phillips added, "Unless people rise to the occasion, probably worse. If we can get people to stand up, we have a chance."

Valedictorian Samantha Jones essentially echoed that idea from the podium, when she noted young people "must take it upon ourselves" to solve the problems society faces as a result of being in "another Depression" and the long-term effects of an expensive war.

"The economy of our country is plummeting," she observed, comparing it to a "drought in dire need of rain." But she added young people can be the ones who "sprinkle raindrops" that nourish the future's landscape.

Later, before announcing $132,500 in scholarships, Principal Bill Bishop noted the class picked a rain motif for its class quote: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

Music teacher Becky Bussiere said she believes that perspective reflects the senior class well.

"They're so optimistic they can only make it better ... if they can," she said. "More and more people are making societies and help groups and recycling campaign. It's only going to get better because people are being forced to work together."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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