A bittersweet send-off for Long Trail graduates

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MANCHESTER — Dorset's Long Trail School sent off its 25 graduating seniors at a commencement ceremony on Friday that was bittersweet for the school's small community.

Following a piano prelude from student Oisin Harrington, members of the Class of 2017 made their entrance to the classic "Pomp and Circumstance." Once the intimate class had taken their seats, they were appropriately welcomed by school head Steven Dear.

"You spent many years in preparation for this exciting day," said Dear. "All of the hard work and hours of study, which you brought to this graduation day, are now complete. Congratulations on this major milestone in your lives."

The day was not just a celebration of students, however, but also the faculty that worked with them over the years.

Following his welcome, Dear recognized the long serving teachers at the Long Trail School before passing the podium to the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Andrea Ross.

"For 41 years the Long Trail School has been launching bright and compassionate students out into our world.

All of us here are very aware of this small, independent school nestled in this beautiful Vermont Valley and its mission to educate students in heart and in mind" said Ross. "Those graduates here today are the quintessential product of this atmosphere, and they leave here with so much more than diplomas. Imagine for a moment a world where everyone graduated from the Long Trail School."

Before the school's annual awards were presented, the school's IB music ensemble performed a rousing rendition of "Tank," by Yoko Kanno. A performance of The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," by Patrick Staples and Jonah Knapp-Wilson, both graduating seniors, followed the annual awards.

The graduates themselves then took to the stage to share reflections on their time at the Long Trail School, and their visions for the future, before receiving their diplomas.

"While at times the workload and stress of the IB Program, and the high demands of the social constructs of high school made life seem all but golden, since beginning at Long Trail School as an eighth grader I've undergone immense personal growth and transformation of character, all for the better," said senior Lindy Lu Burch-Durkee, who will be attending the University of Vermont in the fall.

"We have learned through our own procrastination, motivation and success," said Lydia Ysabel Quevedo, who will attend Smith College in the fall. "Let's take the tools given to us here, and apply them wherever we may go."

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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