Mill River grads remember one of their own
By Bryanna Allen
STAFF WRITER | June 12,2014
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
A Mill River Union High School football player raises his hand during the school’s 2014 graduation Wednesday night. The Minutemen were recognized for making it to the Division III championship game last fall.
Hundreds of people packing the Mill River Union High School gymnasium gave a standing ovation as the parents of the late Sam Pelkey were presented with his diploma.
Pelkey died in 2011 and, although he was unable to walk with his classmates during graduation ceremonies Wednesday night, he was not forgotten.
“Together, we’ve experienced both joy and sorrow, both happiness and pain, both love and loss,” Cory Allen told his fellow seniors, choking up and stumbling slightly.
Class president Wyatt Davenport welcomed classmates and family members, then acknowledged eight retiring staff members, including his grandmother.
Several students came on stage to sing an a cappella version of “Over the Rainbow,” creating a few still moments in the crowd as their voices filled the room in harmony.
Senior Ken Allard gave the honors address and said anyone who knew him wouldn’t be surprised to hear he waited until the last minute to write his speech. He compared himself to President Abraham Lincoln, who was said to have written the Gettysburg Address on his way to Gettysburg.
“Procrastination is like fixing a roof in the rain; there’s more incentive to get the job done,” Allard said, causing chuckles from the crowd.
Brownson Spencer, chairman of the Mill River School Board, delivered words of inspiration to the students.
“Don’t let your apprehension for the next step keep you from doing your best,” he said. “Think for yourself, work hard and be honest.”
Principal Anthony Pomeroy stood with pride in front of the 2014 graduating class, giving a speech that had them standing up and whooping with joy.
“You must be thinking that because I’m giving my speech it must be almost over,” he said. “It’s true, but first I need to talk to you a little bit.”
He told the Minutemen football players who had made it to the Division III championship to stand up.
A handful did.
He told students who were graduating with a 3.5 gade-point average to stand up.
He told students who were just barely graduating by the skin of their teeth to stand up.
Those who remained seated for the previous question jumped up, laughing and getting extra applause from the audience.
When he told the students who were in the class of 2014 to stand up, all of them did, in a wave of blue and white caps and gowns.
“Someday soon, your high school connections will fade, they will become just a story in your head,” he said. “But that’s OK, we’re all stories in the end. Just make sure it’s a good story.”