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Ceremony celebrates Class of 2012

Seniors Katja Hamler and Jane Naugler and the other members of the Class of 2012 celebrate their last day of high school during Wednesday's countdown.

Seniors Katja Hamler and Jane Naugler and the other members of the Class of 2012 celebrate their last day of high school during Wednesday’s countdown.

by Hilary Brumberg
This school’s Class of 2012 celebrated the end of its high school years by graduating tonight.
During tonight’s ceremony, the graduating class demonstrated the breadth and depth of its talent.
Family Singers began the graduation ceremony with “America the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates, a member of the Class of 1876. Senior Maria Bracciale sang the National Anthem and senior Jamie Moore interpreted it into American Sign Language.
Principal Jennifer Price then welcomed attendees, and graduating EDCO and English Language Learning students greeted the audience in ASL, Farsi, French, Karen, Korean, Kyrgyz, Mandarin, Pashto and Spanish.
Next, mayor Setti Warren, superintendent David Fleishman, School Committee vice-chair and parent Matt Hills and aldermen and parents Ted Hess-Mahan and Greer Tan Swiston spoke to the graduating class.
Senior class president Jon Paul Roby presented the senior tribute and senior class gift to special education teachers Nicole Franchi and Grace Nicolazzo, the class advisers.
Senior Lena Golick spoke for the graduating class and history teacher Betsey Scharlack, a retiree, spoke for the faculty.
Price presented the Principal’s Plaque, an engraved tray, to the Village Bank. 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 honor the Village Bank after all of the “incredible support” the Village Bank has offered the Innovation Lab.
Seniors then presented awards to their classmates to honor their achievements.
Manuel Lopez presented Pamela Chen with the Charles Dana Meserve Fund Award engraved tray and scholarship money. The award honors an outstanding scholar who made significant contributions to this school.
Chen’s academic achievements include being a National Merit Semifinalist and winning the Yale Book Award and a gold medal on the National Latin Examination. She also co-directed “Pippin,” Forté and “Freshman Cabaret,” and she has won numerous awards for her print and musical accomplishments.
Andressa Pesarini presented the Boy’s Senior Cup engraved bowl to Luke Westman, and Jeremy Marks presented the Girl’s Senior Cup bowl to Maggie Heffernan.
The Senior Cups honor a boy and a girl who best represent the ideal student at this school in terms of character, personality, scholarship and involvement in the community.
A superb athlete and student, Westman won the Dartmouth College Book Award and was a captain of varsity soccer, basketball and volleyball.
Heffernan played varsity soccer, was a captain of varsity indoor and outdoor track and was very involved in her church.
Kevin Wu won the Phi Beta Kappa Award for academic excellence, and Ilana Greenstein presented him with the certificate and scholarship money.
In addition to having one of the highest GPAs in the graduating class, Wu founded this school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter and the Measures for the Future non-profit organization. He was on varsity swim and the Newton Education Board.
Patrick Bryson presented the Dickinson Memorial Award engraved bowl to Westman. This annual award honors a boy who demonstrated the greatest improvement in athletic competition, sportsmanship, character and skill.
Emma Weisberg presented the Gary Elliott Prize for the Performing Arts certificate and scholarship money to Emily Paley and Graham Techler.
Paley acted in many Theatre Ink productions, was the vice president of Team PACT, team captain of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Newton—Brookline founder, director of A Cappella for a Cure and producer and director of the City of Newton Teen Summer Concert Series.
Techler performed in 16 Theatre Ink productions; was an officer of the improv club; and co-directed “Spontaneous Generation,” “Nitrous Oxide,” “The Cripple of Inishmaan” and Northern Lights.
To acknowledge her improvement in athletic competition, sportsmanship, character and skill, William Spiro presented the Helene Breivogel Award engraved bowl to Katie Caruso.
Caruso was a captain of varsity ice hockey and varsity softball and helped teach middle school students with special needs.
Jared Masinton and Stephanie Vitone won the Margaret South Award for courtesy, courage, enthusiasm and unselfish service. Maleeka Person presented them with engraved bowls.
Masinton was a speaker for A Promise to Adam and a captain of varsity basketball, and he writes and produces music.
Vitone was a captain of varsity field hockey and ice hockey and played varsity lacrosse. She also received the Connecticut College Junior Book Award.
Kellynette Gomez presented the Newton Rotary Club William Rockwell Memorial Career and Vocational Technical Education Achievement Award plaque to Amanda Derby.
Derby was a student representative and did various jobs for Graphic Communications. She also ran indoor and outdoor track.
Veronica Ingham won the Wendell R. Bauckman Award for performing outstanding public service to the community, and Nathaly Lopera presented her with the certificate and scholarship money.
Ingham founded the sailing team, was captain of varsity swim and was an officer of Mentors in Violence Protection club.
Michela Salvucci presented the Lenny Zakim/PTSO Human Rights Award certificate and scholarship money to Jon Paul Roby and Michael Thorpe. The award honors students who improve this school by promoting greater understanding andappreciation of human differences.
Both of his upperclassmen years, Roby was class president. He was also a leader of the Guidance Aide program and Jubilee and performed in 16 Theatre Ink productions.
Thorpe was a co-captain of varsity basketball and volleyball, played varsity football and was a leader of the Black Leadership Advisory Council.
Principal Jennifer Price said that she is proud to call the members of the Class of 2012 Newton North graduates. “The class represents all that is Newton North,” she said. “It is a diverse group of students that has excelled in a wide variety of ways.”

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