- Seniors Alex D’Agostino and Jack McLaughlin and the rest of the Class of 2011 celebrate their last day of high school during Friday’s countdown.
by Hilary Brumberg
June 7, the Class of 2011 became the 150th class to graduate from this school and the first to graduate from this building.
Family Singers began the program with “America the Beautiful,” by Katherine Lee Bates, a member of the Class of 1876. Seniors Samuel Melnick, Kelly McIntyre and Fionnuala O’Donovan sang the National Anthem and senior Thomas Ansill interpreted it.
After principal Jennifer Price welcomed students, parents and faculty, graduating EDCO and English Language Learning students greeted the audience in Cantonese, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Greek, Farsi, Luganda, French and American Sign Language.
Next, mayor Setti Warren, superintendent David Fleishman, School Committee member Reenie Murphy and aldermen Leonard Gentile and Jay Harney spoke to the graduates.
Senior class president Molly Doris-Pierce then awarded the senior tribute to counselor Matthew Ford, the class adviser, and presented the senior class gift.
Senior Simona Gilman spoke for the Class of 2011 and fine arts teacher Sandra Truant, a retiree, spoke for the faculty.
Price presented the Principal’s Plaque, an engraved tray, to the Parametric Technology Corporation. This award is for a person or group of people in the Newton community who have made outstanding contributions to the students, faculty and programs at this school.
Price said she was pleased to pick PTC because “if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the Innovation Lab.”
Seniors then presented awards to their classmates.
Melissa Gomez presented Derek Butterton with the Charles Dana Meserve Fund Award engraved tray and scholarship for being an outstanding scholar and making significant contributions to this school.
A dedicated English student, Butterton was recognized for his work in all four grades with the Charles Kamar Award; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Award Honorable Mention; the Middlebury College Junior Book Award; and the M. Roland Heintzelman Memorial Award. He was also a National Merit Semifinalist and scored in the 98th percentile in the National Spanish Exam. Butterton acted in multiple Theatre Ink shows.
The Senior Cups honor a girl and a boy who best respresent the ideal student at this school in terms of character, scholarship, involvement in the school community and personality.
D’Jaidah Akins-Wynn presented the Boys’ Senior Cup engraved bowl to Ezra Lichtman.
Lichtman received 12 varsity letters in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He won Bay State Conference all-star titles seven times in the three varsity sports he played. Lichtman also won the Harvard University Club Junior Book Award, the Excellence in Italian Award in the National Italian Exam and the J. F. Kennedy Prize for Excellence for the best junior thesis in the Advanced Placement division.
Rosie McInnes won the Girls’ Senior Cup, and Cassidy Chan presented her with the engraved bowl.
McInnes acted in Theatre Ink shows, placed 11th in the country in the National French Contest and received the Smith College Junior Book Award. She played varsity lacrosse, co-directed the Forte a capella group and participated in Leadership in a Diverse Society.
Kevin Barisano presented the Phil Beta Kappa Award certificate and scholarship for academic excellence to Rebecca Harris.
Harris won the Brandeis Junior Book Award, the Lori Borden Award and a gold medal in the National Spanish Exam. She was a captain of the swimming and diving team. Harris also wrote for this newspaper and served as an Under-Secretary General for Model United Nations.
Christine D’Angelo bestowed T.J. Ryan with the Dickinson Memorial Award engraved bowl. It is annually awarded to a boy who has demonstrated the greatest improvement in athletic competition, sportsmanship, character and skill.
A three-season varsity athlete and captain, Ryan was
a Bay State all-star for golf and hockey. He won the 2008 Simon Surabian Award for being freshman male athlete of the year and was an MIAA Student Ambassador.
Justin Phillips presented the Gary Elliott Prize for the Performing Arts certificate and scholarship to Skylar Fox and McIntyre.
Fox founded and directed The Circuit Theatre Company. He also acted in, designed hair and makeup for, wrote and directed Theatre Ink shows. Most recently, he co-directed “Sunday in the Park with George” with David Gore.
McIntyre participated in 15 Theatre Ink productions, both in acting roles and back stage, and was a member of the Northern Lights a capella group.
Joshua Brooks presented Margo Gillis with the Helene Breivogel Award engraved bowl for improvement in athletic competition, sportsmanship, character and skill.
Gillis ran cross country, indoor track and outdoor track and was a cross country and outdoor track captain this year. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald voted her part of their all-scholastic teams. Her freshman year, she won the Simon Surabian Award for being the most outstanding freshman female athlete.
Gomez won the Margaret South Award for courtesy, courage, enthusiasm and unselfish service. Darris Jordan presented her with the engraved bowl.
Gomez held a leadership role in the Black Leadership Advisory Council, participated in Leadership in a Diverse Society and won a junior book award.
Marco Delicata presented the Newton Rotary Club William Rockwell Memorial Career and Vocational Technical Education Achievement Award plaque to Daryl Choa.
Choa was the lead designer of the Career and Vocational Technical Education Website, which won a Gold W3 Award. She was a captain of the swimming and diving team and was also selected to serve on the Design and Visual Communications Advisory Committee.
Jessica Parker presented Kate Lewis with the Wendell R. Bauckman Award certificate and money for performing outstanding public service to the community.
Lewis placed first in the nation in the National Italian Exam and participated in Theatre Ink productions, mostly behind the scenes. She was also executive editor of the Newtonian and arts editor of this newspaper.
Mercer Gary presented the Lenny Zakim/PTSO Human Rights Award certificate and scholarship to Gore and Michael Atkinson. It honors students who improve the quality of life at this school by promoting greater understanding and appreciation of differences.
Gore is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist; placed fourth in the nation in the National Italian Exam; and won the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers Secondary School Essay Contest and the Yale Junior Book Award. He took part in 15 Theater Ink shows.
Atkinson played football and wrestled at the varsity level, placing fifth at the Massachusetts Division I Central Sectionals and competing in the Massachusetts Division I State Tournament for wrestling.
Afterward, the members of the Class of 2011 received their diplomas.
In the old building, seniors were awarded their diplomas by section, rather than walking across the stage individually, because the old Dickinson Stadium did not have a stage. However, Price feels that after “four years of high school, they deserve to walk across the stage,” she said.
Price enlisted carpentry teacher Garrett Tingle and his students to build the stage.
Robert Dalton, who worked on constructing the stage until just a few days before he walked across it to receive his diploma, said, “I’m part of the graduating class, and I’m leaving my mark for Newton North to remember me and the Class of 2011.”