Cabot Class of 2022 Told To Be Changemakers

The Cabot High School Class of 2022 applaud their teachers during their commencement ceremony June 8: from left, Astryd Whitehouse, River Riley, Noah Villeneuve, Jesse Mudgett, Olivia Smith, Brody Moran, Courtney Robie-Rogers and Alec Moran. (Contributed photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur /Staff Photo/The Times Argus/Rutland Herald

CABOT — In her opening remarks, Rebecca Tatistcheff, principal of Cabot School, spoke about the support of the community that has been received by the school’s Class of 2022, as well as the resilience of the graduating seniors, during graduation festivities celebrated on the lawn of the school’s Performing Arts Center on June 8.

” … families and friends … have weathered a school experience that was like no other. You have been our partners in the journey to this day…”

During her thanks to faculty and staff for their part, she paused, allowing the graduates an opportunity to give their educators a round of applause.

Tatistcheff quoted the poem, “Hymn for the Hurting,” written by Amanda Gorman, the nation’s youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, who spoke during the inauguration of President Biden. Gorman wrote this poem following the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. A section of the poem states: “May we not just grieve, but give: May we not just ache, but act; May our signed right to bear arms Never blind our sight from shared harm; May we choose our children over chaos. May another innocent never be lost … But only when everything hurts May everything change.”

Tatistcheff told the seniors that they are the changemakers that the world needs now. She praised the seniors for setting “a tone of respect and kindness. You demanded more of each other and of the adults in our community.”

She encouraged the students to “remember the wisdom you gained from those sitting here today. Stay connected with those moments. And remember, always, through every challenge, to reclaim your right to hope.”

The guest speaker, Alex Modica, began her teaching career at Cabot School two years ago, in the middle of a pandemic. Instead of dwelling on what occurred in those last two years, she encouraged the students to focus on the future and praised them for the “strength, tenacity and poise” they have demonstrated.

As for future challenges, she stated, “be your best selves even when you don’t feel your best … live according to your intentions and your ideals, even when it would be easier not to.”

Three graduates were given the honor of addressing their classmates: brothers Alec and Brody Moran, and River Riley.

Alec spoke of his bond with Cabot School. “I feel like I am leaving home. Cabot School has really been a second home for me for the past 14 years … We are the first class … that had students start in preschool here and end here without ever leaving once.”

He highlighted some of the bonds that have been formed among his classmates, including a camping trip in eighth grade, and planning a senior prank (blowing up enough balloons to fill a room) and surprising the teachers one early school morning recently. “For me, this is the moment that we became a family.”

Brody sited the turmoil that the world’s been in for the last few years, stating “There are places in our country where students are being forced to hide their truth in one of the most sanctified places in the world, a place of learning.

“I consider myself lucky. Cabot School has been a second home for me. It has been a place where I feel comfortable expressing myself freely. My experience should not be the exception, it should be the expectation.”

Earlier in his speech, Brody read a quote by Dolly Parton, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” In closing, Brody encouraged his fellow classmates: “Today is our rainbow, a day that is to be celebrated and cherished, a rite of passage into whatever comes next.”

Final words of farewell were given by River Riley. She spoke of the first high school she attended in Georgia, “a place that couldn’t be more different than Cabot,” and was there when the pandemic started. After losing so many learning experiences because of being remote, and because her family believed it would be a safer environment, they moved to Cabot.

“I had to get used to a place where the school was smaller, teachers got to know you pretty well, and the school wasn’t big enough to avoid anyone … It definitely felt strange showing up out of nowhere to become a part of a school that was so close knit.”

She adapted to this new situation, and, along with all her classmates, also adapted to many unforeseen events that have taken place in the last few years.

“As a class, we’ve also had to learn how to adapt. We learned resilience and how to overcome the challenges we faced … we matured in ways not required by previous classes.

“In our future endeavors, whether it’s colleges, jobs or relationships, these skills will serve us well, no matter what.”

During the program, and before the awarding of diplomas, the following scholarships and awards were presented to the graduates:

• Brody Moran: Phil Hoff Memorial Scholarship, Gear Up Program Scholarship, Vermont State Grant, Pritzker Scholarship, St. John’s College Grant.

• Olivia Smith: Norwich Presidential Scholarship, Take the Lead Scholarship, Norwich University Grant, Norwich VT Endowment Match, Gear Up Program Scholarship, Vermont State Grant, Cabot School Alumni Scholarship.

• Alec Moran: Catamount Commitment Fund, Gear Up Program Scholarship.

• Astryd Whitehouse: Castleton Achievement Scholarship, Gear Up Program Scholarship.

• Jesse Mudgett: Castleton Achievement Scholarship, Gear Up Program Scholarship, Cabot School Alumni Scholarship.

• Noah Villeneuve: Cabot School Faculty and Staff Scholarship.

Cabot School Class of 2022

Alec Moran, Brody Moran, Jesse Mudgett, River Riley, Courtney Robie-Rogers, Olivia Smith, Noah Villeneuve and Astryd Whitehouse.

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