LONDONDERRY - Another group of excited young people made the official step from middle school to high school. On Thursday, June 19, 31 eighth graders graduated from Flood Brook School.

Gabby Blanchard, one of the graduates, opened the evening, saying she knew everyone was excited, but the class of 2014 was more excited.

Neal McIntyre, principal of Flood Brook School, thanked the students, school board, parents and others for coming. He especially wanted to thank the teachers that will no longer be at Flood Brook next year.

"And to the graduates, your day is finally here," he said. "But now is the time when the principal has the indulgence to impart upon you some unsolicited advice ... Be a friend. Never ever put down on someone unless it is to help them up ... True friends will always be there to help steer you in the right direction, as you should be there when you're friends are in need."

Along with being a friend, McIntyre encouraged the graduates to be leaders and to be safe. Safety, he said, does not mean avoiding risk, but instead knowing the difference between a healthy risk - like laying out for a fly ball - and an unhealthy risk that could cause pain.

Along with McIntyre, four students read from original speeches. Mae Chalmers said writing a graduation task can be difficult and not easy.

"Just between you and me, the transition from a blank sheet of paper to an honest, funny, witty and captivating speech can be terrifying," she said.


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"Honestly, the things I should not be doing are always more appealing than what I have to do. But getting up on stage and embarrassing myself with a horrible speech is not appealing either. So I chose good speech writing over watching rain drops and made the transition from blank paper to honest, funny, witty and captivating. At least, I hope I did."

While Chalmers said she did not like transitions, they are important to make, because without them, you'll never grow.

Grace Braddish read a poem she wrote, called "Driving." It was about her sister Tess, who is leaving for college in the fall and the way they would spend time together, driving around with no destination in mind.

Mehana Koch said she couldn't wait to get out of here. She said it was something she has heard, a constant cadence of the eighth grade year.

"The truth is, we never truly get out of here," she said. "When you have been at the same school...for nine years....it isn't as simple as walking out the doors and never looking back. If you search through the trophy cases or the back shelves of the art room, you're apt to find traces of us."

Finally, the last speech was delivered by Bryce Little, who said all he does is talk about sports. He thanked his coaches, who have helped him develop as a person, thanking his dad, his most important coach.

The 2014 graduating class from Flood Brook School is Bayron Apuhango-Coronel, Paisley Barr, Annalise Bartlett, Beatrice Bellingham, Christian Bischofberger, Gabrielle Blanchard, Grace Braddish, Nikolas Burbank, Mae Chalmers, Joseph Citera III, Tyler Colfax, Samuel Cowles, Kevin Dernier, MAxwell Sidenhaur, Eli Eppolito, Hunter Felion, Carter HAll, Ruairidh Hamilton, Paige Humphrey, Mehana Koch, Bryce Little, Cole O'Connor, Benjamin Ogden, Anna Osnow, Emma Perry, Emily Picz, Megan Quinn, Michael Schoenberger, Neil Thorley, Levi Wetherald and Ashley Wyman.