Pomp and Circumstance on the green at Kennett’s outdoor commencement
● By J. Chambless
Photo by Chris Barber The senior class members processed two-by-two, arm-in-arm, down the steps.
When Pierre S. Du Pont funded the building of Kennett High School in 1924 and chose William Martin as architect, it’s possible that he had in mind the image of an elegant commencement procession down its front steps.
On Friday night, with temperatures in the 70s and a blazing red sunset emerging in the west, Kennett’s class of 2019 processed down those steps, arm-in-arm in twos, onto their seats on the green.
On this, superintendent Barry Tomasetti’s last graduation before his retirement, he told the class, “Find something that fills you with passion and joy … Show the world what Kennett graduates are made of.”
School Board president Joseph Meola praised Tomasetti and other staff members who would be departing this year. He also advised the graduating seniors to be strong, courageous and patient. “No task is below you. Don’t be afraid to fail. Enjoy each day like it’s the last. Be kind,” he told them.
Members of the senior class were well represented in various segments of the ceremony.
Nancy Avalos Rodriguez delivered the invocation in both English and Spanish. She also led the Pledge of Allegiance. She recalled her first days at Kennett High School when she had an initial sense of confusion. “Now we are the cool kids,” she said.
Class president Bruce Genereux greeted his classmates and thanked the parents. He said, “Anything is possible when you take on new challenges.” He also received the Advisor’s Cup – one of the school’s highest honors.
Four student speakers presented their thoughts on what they had experienced in their years at the school and how they intended to move ahead in the future. Kathryn Erisman compared the years at Kennett High School as like traveling a roadway. “We will navigate new roads. … This is just the starting point,” she said.
Kevin Lemus Moreno characterized his classmates as “friends of technology” who learned how to make things happen. He added, “We do not have to be a genius to achieve great things.”
Moreno was also awarded the Rupert Cup, the school’s highest honor, at the conclusion of the commencement ceremony.
Molly Hohner’s speech was titled “Recalculating.” She said individuals must view what seem like failures, learn from them and turn them into successes.
Elaina Maahs compared human lives and experiences to literature. “All of our stories have led us here. Kennett will always be part of the pages of your stories,” she said.
Assistant principal Jeffrey Thomas announced that of the 297 members of the class, 107 seniors had received 294 scholarships worth $10.1 million.
The high school orchestra, directed by Jessica Williams, played several musical numbers including the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” and the recessional “La Rejouissance” by Handel. Musicians from the senior class joined for several of the pieces.
Assistant principal Raymond Fernandez read the roll call of the graduates, and one by one, they proceeded up the steps to the landing to receive their diplomas. Many of them hugged senior class advisor Margaret Hughes as they did so.
At the finale, the class members recessed in orderly lines into the building, but them emerged soon after to their enthusiastic parents and friends who were waiting in the driveway with cheers and festive balloons.