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Monument Graduates Told to 'Be Good to People,' Have Gratitude
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
08:41PM / Sunday, June 04, 2023
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Monument Mountain graduates 113 seniors on Sunday afternoon at Tanglewood in Lenox.

Valedictorian Aria Grossman found inspiration for her address scrolling YouTube. See more photos here. 
LENOX, Mass. — The 113 graduates of the Monument Mountain Regional High School class of 2023 were sent off with some words of wisdom from Taylor Swift: "Be good to people."
"Several things make your class stand out. In addition to your many accomplishments, I appreciate your voices, your commitment to support each other, your decency and your spark," said Berkshire Hills Regional Superintendent Peter Dillon, who channeled the quote from the pop star. "You've come together as a class, you've made remarkable decisions about what's next ...
"Try hard, do wonderful things, make mistakes and try again. We wish you well. We're eager to see who you continue to become."
Graduation exercises for the Great Barrington high school were held in unusually cool weather in the Shed at Tanglewood on Sunday afternoon. The chorus performed "In My Life" by John Lennon and the diplomas were presented by Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee Chair Stephen Bannon. The class marshals were Ari Caine and Noelia Salinetti. 
Valedictorian Aria Grossman said she'd gotten lots of advice on her speech — make it funny, make it Oscar-like in thanking everyone, make it profound, don't make it profound, make it musical. 
"So today I'm going to be discussing a topic that I think will deeply resonate with a lot of you. Mindless internet scrolling," she said to laughter. 
During her scrolling of YouTube, Grossman came across an artist creating a photorealistic drawing of a glass of water.  
"Each stroke increased my awareness of everything that goes into a glass of water, all the patterns of light and color that combined to create the glasses image," she said. "In the process, I gained a deeper appreciation for the depth and complexity of visual experience. ...
"I bring this up because I think that high school has, in many ways been like this drawing video. Much of our work has been a sort of deconstruction."
The class had delved into chemistry and biology, grammar and language, ideas and events that shaped history, she said, and in the process they've gained a greater sense of wonder and gratitude for the world in which we live.
"As we move forward with our lives, my hope is that we will approach each situation with gratitude, gratitude for the joyful moments, but also gratitude for the challenges and the opportunity, the opportunity for learning and growth that they bring, Grossman said. "And gratitude for the uplifting and inspiring communities of which we are apart."
Salutatorian Tyler Sprague said he wasn't sure how much advice he could pass on. 
"Hopefully, no one came here today anticipating a life-altering speech, because I unfortunately do not feel as if I possess much wisdom to impart on you all," he said. "Rather, I want to take this chance as a final opportunity to reflect on some key moments in my time in Monument."
The one that stood out most to him was an ambitious pep rally in which he had donned a mascot costume but which hadn't gone quite as he planned. 
"I felt the strength, courage and honor that I thought this mascot would feel but more importantly, I felt an immense sense of pride. Because in that moment, I was a symbol for something larger," Sprague said, but the limited vision of the head came sent him flying during hamster ball soccer in the gym. 
"Monument taught me how quickly one can go from parading around a gymnasium to holding back tears as they lay sprawled out on the floor," he said. "It has taught me the difference between taking my work seriously and taking myself seriously. I'm truly grateful for these lessons. I hope we all can continue to reflect on the lessons we have learned at Monument as we face this large transition in our lives."
Bannon told the class they'd been given a solid foundation and it was up to them to continue to build on it. 
"You're about to move into the next phase of your life. Do not look back with regrets. look forward with anticipation. It is only by having faith in yourself that you will succeed in life. Does not matter what path you have chosen to take. Only matters you're comfortable with the path you have chosen," he said. 
Before leading the class in turning their tassels, Principal Kristina Farina wanted to address them one last time.
The had had one of "the strangest learning experience imaginable" that none could have predicted, she said. "Class of 2023, you rose to the occasion. You stepped up and pushed through and beyond that you made our community better. You've each demonstrated resilience in getting to this day, a stop along the way to your next journey, your next destination. 
"Take time to savor today's experience and thank those who supported you in getting here."
Monument Mountain class of 2023
Andrew Robert Albert
Luke Kenji Arienti
Kayla Marie Bailly*
Koel Richard Bailly*
Mark William Bailly *
Jacob Owen Baumgart*
Julian Millburn Beadell*
Sofia Andrea Bernal*
Lillie Annabelle Maassen Blechman*
Damian Bourdon
Michael Jerome Bowser
Rowan Lily Boyer +*
Gwen Amelia Brady +*
Sophie Catherine Brazie
Stella Turner Brex +*
Ravjeet Singh Chahal *
Ava Taylor Cohen*
Karma Rosie Cohen*
Marquesa Kalia Connolly
Ava Young Consolati*
Isabela Mae Costello*
Sheyla Guadalupe Cruz
Reydavid Cruz-Perez
Marti Rebecca Cunningham +*
Bradley Thomas Danyluk*
Kayleigh McCabe Davis +*
Lily Elizabeth de Movellan +*
Elonzo Michael Dean
Natalie Alexandra Doerr*
Ximena Dominguez-Demesio +*
Madeleine Elston Duchesne *
Willa Gail Dunaj
Kevin Bruce Dupont*
Asher Tijs Elsbach*
Isabelle Sophia Ely *
Texoloc Harris Espinoza-Bergins *
Mia Rose Faggioni +*
Julian David Fetiva-Escobar*
Isabella Carmella Rose Fudge
Aiden Michael Germain
Pedro Gonzalez Quiacain
Samantha Jane Goudey +*
Aria Rennie Grossman+*^^
Evie Maya Grossman +*^^
Alana Guidette-Bocchino
Minhtam Le Harshbarger*
Luke Rupert Hartshorn *
Calvin Hunter Hartzell*
Kaelin Seari Havens
Timothy Matthew Heckendorn
Nicholas Peter Henderson *
Zoe Speer Holmes +*^^
William Jeffrey Howard
Brayan Camilo Huertas *
Leo Francis Kavanaugh*
Aleksander Stanley Kay +*
Abigail Joan Kinne*
Colin Christopher Kinne*
Benjamin Oliver Kleinman +*
Andrew Sidney Knopf*
Adam Mitchell Kronenberg +*^
Daphne von Blankenburg Lamb *
Andrew Kirk LaRochelle *^^
Zebulin Asklipio Laska
Destiny Hope Lepera +*
Natalie Rogers Lewis +*
Dahlia Grace Logan +*
Phoenix Ember Lucido +*
Eliel Frances Mamousette
Issabelle Virgil McMahon*
Emily Alzina Mead*
Jordan Alexander Mielke
Megan Douglas Mitchell +*
Maya Olivia Gomez Lopez Moro
Robert Baird Murray *
Heidy Maite Oliveros Quituizaca
Courtney llene Ostrander *
Collin Avery Parker
Emma Louise Perry
Victoria Marie Pevzner+*
Luke James Poly*
Ethan Sawyer Pratt*
Genevieve Madeleine Pratt* 
Yelizaveta Marie Price +* 
Jayder Peter Raifstanger * 
Gaudencio Ramos Ralios 
Serena Chantal Rhind* 
Emily Lauren Roller +* 
Jacob Connor Ryan* 
Paige Elizabeth Schultze+* 
Theo Kane Schwartz-Dufault* 
Nicole Kaitlyn Shanahan +* 
Jacob David Shron +* 
Nathaneil Zigmond Smith*
Emma Baxter Spitz*
Lili Rae Sprague +*^
Tyler Dow Sprague +*
Kenneth Stanley
Colby Christopher Sweet
Noah Taxter
Marcella Anne Tenuta +*
Sophia Elizabeth Tournas-Hardt*
Derrick Turner
Aaliyah Kitana Vargas* 
Isabella Koldys Viola+* 
Owen Mark Wade * 
Kyle Wellenkamp +* 
Kaylee Marie Wickwire 
Athena Roxxann Wingo
Stella Rose Wright * 
Samuel Ye-Hun Yeung* 
Dilia Noemi Yon Gonzalez* 
Justice Paul Young
+National Honor Society  *Graduated with Honors  ^State Seal of Biliteracy


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