PHS Class of 2017 graduates reminded to look for ‘life lessons’

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Portsmouth High School’s Class of 2017 graduates were reminded Friday that “life lessons can be found in the most unsuspecting places,” according to graduation speaker Mary Stack. 

“As we all enter the next chapter of our lives, I remind you that life lessons can be found in the most unsuspecting places, you just have to know how to look for them and be open to listening,” Stack told her fellow Class of 2017 graduates at a ceremony held Friday evening inside the Portsmouth High School’s new gym. 

More than 245 graduates received diplomas at Friday’s graduation ceremony, which was held indoors due to bursts of quick rain showers. 

Prior to the ceremony, the graduates and dignitaries walked swiftly from the school to the high school gym, trying to shield themselves from the brief rain with programs and graduation caps. Guests walking up the hill without umbrellas moved at a faster pace. 

Among the Class of 2017 were triplets, Adam, Corey, and Meghan Gamache, as well as a group of 15 students who have attended class in Portsmouth together since preschool (all featured below in photos).

Stack, one of the evening’s two graduation speakers, shared rules learned from her soccer coach, as well as a quote by Robert Ingersoll, who said, “We rise by lifting others.” 

“Beneath the unwarranted, recurring advice that we have grown accustomed to receiving, often lies a valuable lesson looking to be found,” Stack said. 

She concluded her speech by encouraging the graduates to “do your part to make the world a better place.” 

Stack was joined by fellow graduation speaker, Scott Perdue, who also encouraged the graduates and reminded them they were now “ambassadors of Portsmouth High School.” 

“I don’t know about anybody else, but for me personally, I wouldn’t have wanted to be a representation of any other school’s graduating class…,” Perdue said. 

Additional speakers at Friday’s graduation ceremony were Portsmouth High School Principal Joseph N. Amaral, Portsmouth School Committee Chairperson Terri Cortvriend, Superintendent of Schools Ana C. Riley, and Senior Class President Gabriella DeComo.

Student Council Treasurer Adam Parsons introduced the guest speaker, Portsmouth High School science teacher Jean Paul Arsenault. 

Directed by Ted Rausch, the Portsmouth High School Symphonic Band performed the processional. 

Senior Class Secretary Sophia Piffard led guests and graduates in the Pledge of Allegiance, while graduate Kristen Takacs sang the national anthem. 

The Portsmouth High School Symphonic Band later performed “Stars and Stripes Forever,” while the Portsmouth High School combined chorus, under the direction of Shawna Gleason, sang “No Day But Today.” 

Portsmouth High School Class of 2010 alumnus, Devon Flynn, performed the recessional on bagpipes. 

Featured below are more photos from Friday’s ceremony. 

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”38″ gal_title=”PHS graduation 2017″]


Featured below is the Class of 2017 (listed by name alphabetically). Please zoom if you have any trouble reading the name. 



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