2014 Eagle’s Eye Head Editor Cameron Merritt
By: Cameron Merritt
Well, here it is. Four years have finally come down to this, our graduation day as members of the AHS Class of 2014. Since I first entered this building in September of 2010, I’ve made new friends, discovered plenty, and, for better or worse, experienced this wild ride we call high school. A ride which, as of today, is officially over.
With that, I’d like to congratulate all of my fellow seniors on tonight’s upcoming honors and wish each and every one the best of luck with their future endeavors, whether it be school, work, or the military. Through everything, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in your ranks and could not have asked for a better class to have experienced high school with. Thank you all.
To be honest, we are pretty great. I know that nobody’s perfect and all of that, but seriously, take a look at the list of accomplishments we’ve made. In the classroom, on the field, on the stage, in the community, you name it; we in one way or another made a difference. We handled change with relative ease, going to a new schedule, new principal, new types of classes, and through our ever-evolving world of educational methods and teaching technologies, doing the best with whatever we had. At times, it seemed like we could do everything, well, except coming up with a decent senior prank…
This year, AHS bore a Hockomock League champion (baseball, and as their loyal scorekeeper, the first championship team I was ever a part of), a Division 1 South Semi-Finalist (football), a state champion (boys’ gymnastics), and a national championship (cheerleading).
We beat North, not once, but twice in football this year for the first time ever, one of which was a shutout. Josh Perry, the Managing Editor at Hockomock Sports, told me that this class was “one of the most athletic senior classes [he’s] ever seen.” So with that said, it’s not all too surprising we were also the only class to go undefeated in the Spirit Rally. Cue the “4-0” chants.
However, it wasn’t just the talent that was commendable; it was the spirit, our resilience, our “Blue Pride.” The Boys’ Soccer team had their league-leading season erased midway through due to an error, and then were able to fight back through petitions and play to receive a spot in the MIAA Tournament.
Members of the Girls’ Basketball team suffered some tragic losses off the court, losing two of their biggest fans, and in their honor put up a fantastic season. The Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse teams made their varsity debuts, and though both went through their seasons winless, set the groundwork for a bright future. And who could forget the Boys’ Gymnastics team, who were told last year that the sport they love would no longer be recognized by the MIAA. Not only were they able to help persuade the MIAA otherwise, they also capped off the year with a state championship. Those are just a few examples of what goes on in our extraordinary athletic’s program, and what we, as members of the Class of 2014, were able to help make possible.
This May, I participated for the first time in the Drama Club’s One Act Festival, and I only wished I’d joined sooner. The Drama Club at our school is filled with incredible people, who are incredibly talented and put on some incredible performances. To sum it up, they’re incredible. For those unfamiliar with One Act, it’s when senior members of the Drama Club are given the opportunity to choose and direct their own one-act plays. I admire their dedication to their performances, as well as all of the extra work they were willing to take on, all for their love of the art.
A few took on leading roles in other plays. One, the club president and 2014 Leading Man, took on five. Despite these challenges, they mastered their roles with ease, bringing the audience to roaring laughter or tears, and everything in between. My director, a very talented young actress and singer, was excellent in her understanding of our busy schedules and incredibly welcoming as she took on the challenge of turning a group of drama rookies into a very successful cast. She is yet another embodiment of this school’s great drama program.
While we’re on the topic of the arts, the Music Department can’t be forgotten. Through its concerts with their ensembles, chorus, choirs, and the marching band, providing the memorable soundtracks for city parades and high school football games, they represent the a dedication and resilience that greatly exemplifies Blue Pride.
The same applies for our award-winning visual artists, whether by hand or on a computer, they display sets of skills that are already better than some people twice their age.
However, one of the areas where our class truly shined and hopefully will leave a lasting legacy, has been our trailblazing persistence in leading the way, as the famous phrase “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” was really taken up by members of the Class of 2014.
As sophomores, we saw the start-up of the Answer for Cancer Club by someone whom the terrible disease would take so much from. With the assistance of a health teacher and group of friends, she started a club that continues to do so much good for cancer sufferers in this area and beyond, and looks set to do so for years to come.
Another student saw that his favorite sport, Ultimate Frisbee, wasn’t offered by the school, and took matters into his own hands by founding the AHS Hammer Bros, a club sport, which has greatly increased the game’s popularity in the halls of the high school. Not to stroke my own ego, but a certain head editor of the school’s newspaper, the Eagle’s Eye, knew that the journalism class needed a better way to bring their articles out into the world, and decided to create a website for the paper. With the new website, which it took two months to develop, readership skyrocketed and the knowledge of the school having its own newspaper became more commonplace than it’s been in years.
Even the clubs that have been at the school for several years still put out some amazing things, whether it’s our “Best Leo Club in the State,” the Greater Attleboro Leos, Project Unite!, the GSA, Interact Club, Environmental Club, and countless others that have all contributed greatly to making this place more and more open and welcoming to those from all walks of life, and improving our community as a whole while doing it.
Another highlight of our school has been, of course, our fantastic CTE program. Members of our class have done some amazing things in design, in the shops, kitchens, labs, and more. Our engineering students, which include both our valedictorian and salutatorian, have made use of a 3D printer and designed some incredible things. Our CTE program alone has caught the attention of NECN and U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.), who praised the program and hopes to help install it at a national level. We are, indeed, trendsetters in the educational world.
As I sit here writing this, recalling times gone by, I can’t help but remember how it all started in journalism during my sophomore year. Actually, my journalism room was also the first room I ever stepped foot in at the high school, where I’ve had the pleasure of having Ms. Adeline Bee as both a teacher and advisor throughout my high school career. Through the ups and the downs, even if at times I may have felt otherwise, I’ve always known that I can count on Ms. Bee and will be forever grateful for what she has done for me, including allowing me to go off on this “crazy idea” I had over the summer that turned into the very website you’re reading this on right now.
Another special thank you should go to my fellow editing staff, Andrew Luciano, who was my first editor in journalism back in 2012, and Taylor McKenna, who will be inheriting this position from me and carry on the new age of AHS news as she heads into her senior year. I also want to thank my family for all of their continued support, friends, classmates, teachers, the City of Attleboro. The list can go on and on, but to each I owe a sincere amount of gratitude to show my appreciation for helping me to be where I am today.
Once again, I know we weren’t perfect. Nothing is perfect, and there were hardships for everyone along the way, some worse than others. I’ve experienced some myself. The woman who was perhaps looking forward to my graduation more than me, tragically lost her battle with cancer this past February (I love you Nana). But overall, graduation is a day of celebration, and no matter what others have said, be it rival schools, Twitter accounts, whatever, this has genuinely been such a great place to receive an education.
So, for a final time, as we go from students to alumni, congratulations Attleboro High School Class of 2014 on all of your accomplishments. Big or small, they’ve all helped shape who we are, and I look forward to crossing paths again in the future, maybe interviewing some of you future engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, trainers, actors, athletes, artists, designers, musicians, scientists, and more. Once again, with the deepest sincerity, thank you all.