CONWAY — Graduation went off without a hitch, though the night before was sleepless for Principal Neal Moylan, who said he awoke at 1, 2, 3 and 4 a.m.,, only to find it raining. But at 5 a.m., the skies cleared, and commencement was able to take place outside in Gary Millen Stadium, with 147 Eagles graduating.
"It was a great day," Moylan said. "It was cooler, and there were no (mosquitoes and black flies), they must have had other plans."
In an effort to keep folks hydrated, the Kennett Key Club put a bottle of water under every seat, and had the area entirely cleaned up by 12:30 p.m. (the ceremony, which started at 10 ended at 11:30 a.m.).
"Everything came together," said Moylan. "The student speeches were tremendous. As I've said before, this is an awesome, awesome group of kids. I told the marshals (Molly Robert and Emma Plant, next year's senior class president and vice president, respectively), they have set the bar high by wearing matching dresses. They came up with the idea on their own."
Awards given included the prestigious Kennett Trophy, presented by Bayard Kennett to Logan Hagerty; George T. Davidson Spirit of Kennett Award, presented to valedictorian India Drummond; Parker Merrow Award, given to Emma Hurter, voted by the school staff as the student who improved the most over four years; and five Principal Awards presented by Moylan to Seth Parker, Samantha Ducker, Michelah Boucher, Zack Crichton and Emily Heath.
Joe Lentini, school board chair, had the honor of presenting a diploma to his son, Matteo, who is known as the mayor of Kennett High by students and faculty. The two exchanged a huge bear hug.
Fellow board member Mark Hounsell got to follow in his father's footsteps on Saturday. Just as his father, Ted Hounsell, who served on the school board in 1970, did in signing Mark's diploma, Hounsell did the same for son James on Saturday.
An interesting sidelight: James Hounsell, the student body president, and Jamie Kelemen, senior class president, were born an hour apart at Memorial Hospital in North Conway on Jan. 6, 1999.
Jamie's mom, Nancy, is the chair of SAU 9 Board from Bartlett. Jamie is headed to the University of Utah, while James will attend the University of New Hampshire this fall.
Nine juniors — Brooke Barron of Tamworth, Chance Bousquet of Conway, Selena Gauthier of Chocorua, Sara Ghobashi of Tamworth, Nathalie Jolin of Bartlett, Emily Kowal of Albany, Kevin Lyman of Center Conway, Ashley Majowisc of Freedom and Ashley Vajentic of Conway — graduated early. Majowisc, at age 16, will be the second youngest student to attend Plymouth State University.
Moylan said six students already have approached him about leaving the nest early next year.
For more on graduation, see our special pullout inside.