Harwood garduates receive a mix of humor and good advice
DUXBURY — Graduates of Harwood Union High School were told Saturday they don’t hold the world’s future in their hands, but they do hold their own.
Accompanied by the bounciest version of “Pomp and Circumstance” this side of Lake Champlain by the Harwood Jazz Band, approximately 145 students — dressed in black and gold, and some wearing blue sashes to indicate their membership in the National Honors Society — received this bit of wisdom from commencement speaker Rusty DeWees, better known as “The Logger.”
It was the third commencement address at Harwood for actor, comedian and musician DeWees, who told the crowd, “They only had (Gov. Peter) Shumlin once, and it took a flood to get him here.”
At the beginning of his speech, DeWees appeared to eschew his typical attire of a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off in favor of a tie and jacket, but soon shed both to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten text “Harwood #1” on the front.
DeWees offered several nuggets of wisdom to the grads and their assembled friends and family, including the futility of worrying about the opinions of others.
“Do not put one ounce of energy into worrying what other people think and say about you,” DeWees said. “You wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they did.”
He rejected the common graduation platitude that the students are about to enter the real world.
“Some of you have completed what might be the hardest four years of your life,” he said, noting the myriad challenges high school students face, from bullying to peer pressure. “As soon as you get your diploma, it could get easier.”
He also refuted the common graduation cliché that the students hold the future in their hands.
“No offense, Harwood graduating class of 2014, but you don’t hold my future in your hands,” DeWees said. “I’m all set. I’ve got my own back. You hold your future in your hands.”
DeWees also asked for the student with the lowest grade-point average to come forward to receive what he called the “dumbadictorian” award.
“It’s always the same students who win the awards,” DeWees told graduating senior Ty Parker Delphia, “but if you work hard, those same students could end up working for you.”
Salutatorian Nathaniel Kazlow took time to thank his parents and teachers, “all of whom have steered me to this podium today.”
“Mom, thanks for doing my laundry more than I’d like to admit,” he said.
Kazlow acknowledged that while he did well on tests and quizzes throughout high school, “the real test lies ahead.”
Valedictorian Richard Hommel shared advice he received from his track coach.
“Never look back,” he said.
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