LHS Graduation Ceremony Shows 2022’s Ability to Unite Through Adversity


The Class of 2022 Toss Their Caps To Close Out the Graduation Ceremony

Mariah Paskell, Reporter

Leominster High School held its 152 graduation on Saturday, June 4th, under the bright sunshine at Doyle Field. It was a beautiful day to recognize the hard work of the over 400 graduating seniors. 

¨You can say many things about our class,” said Nora Swaine, the Class of 2022 President. “We are boisterous, we don’t follow instructions well, but above all we are resilient. We have suffered through great loss together.”

It was a touching day, made more special by the tribute offered to Nahkira Taylor and Austin Aryee. These two members of the class of 2022 tragically passed before graduation. Austin passed over the summer in a swimming accident. Nahkira passed suddenly just months ago.  Both were honored with a moment of silence, and chairs were reserved for them adorned with their caps and gowns and  flowers. 

Austin’s family was not there to accept his diploma, but Nahkira’s mother was invited on stage to accept her late daughter’s diploma. It was a truly touching moment that had the audience in tears.

Nora gave a special thanks to her peers in student council and to the class of 2022 for trusting her to be Class President. Nora then mentioned the loss of the class’s time, teachers, and students who this passed this year. Along with their two classmates, CTEi Automotive Collision teacher Donald Tucker and Special Education teacher at LHS Patrick Foley, both passed during the school year. 

Nora announced that the class gift will be a scholarship fund in memory of Austin  and Nahkira. This scholarship will benefit two 2023 graduates who ¨represent what it means to be a blue devil: resilience, character, and school spirit,¨ she said. 

Valedictorian, Adam Mullaney addressed what he called, ¨The elephant in the room, Covid,¨ in his speech. He mentioned how he was happy that he got to come back to high school before being thrown into the adult world. He then thanked all his teachers who, “helped me navigate in my final year of high school.¨ 

The salutatorian, Dominic Montoya, gave a great speech about how he wanted everyone to know the real him. He had the crowd laughing  often during his witty speech before concluding  “kiss a girl, kiss a dude, kiss a girl and a dude.”

Highest ranking CTEi student, Olivia Latino also gave a speech thanking all of her teachers at CTEI for, ¨helping us shop kids return to a sense of normalcy after being remote for all our junior year.¨

Olivia gave a special shoutout to Health Occupations teacher Susan Lahtinen-Phelps, who retired last year,  who she said was ¨the hardest working woman I’ve ever met.¨

She then followed up by saying that  no matter where you are going after high school, everyone should still be proud of how far they have come.

One moment that stood out was the surprise guest appearance of  armed service member Zachariah Torres  who surprised his brother Isaiah Torres with his diploma.

Once all of the diplomas were awarded, the Class of 2022 walked to the end zone for the traditional cap toss.

Isaiah Torres receives his diploma from his brother Zachariah Torres as Mayor Dean Mazzarella and LHS Principal Dr. Steven Dubzinski look on.
Nahkira Taylor’s Mother Receives Her Daughter’s Diploma from Principal Dr, Steven Dubzinski