NORTHAMPTON — “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
These words, originally spoken by the wise and fictional bear Winnie the Pooh, were quoted by Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School valedictorian Alexandra West in her speech to her fellow graduates.
Hundreds of people packed into John M. Greene Hall on the Smith College campus on Thursday to cheer on Smith Vocational’s class of 2019.
The vocational school saw 122 students graduate this year, almost all of whom were present to walk across the stage to applause and the occasional air horn blast. The students honored with their diplomas studied everything from animal science to plumbing, culinary arts to cosmetology.
Michael Cahillane, a graduate of Smith Voc and chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said the students leave not only with a diploma but with “a vocational trade.”
“We are so fortunate to get so much more than a regular high school experience,” said salutatorian Marissa Mayhew. “We get life skills, trades, certifications and opportunities to design our own educational path.”
Mayhew noted that she dual-enrolled and did college coursework along with her health technology coursework at Smith Voc this year.
“The experiences I was able to have academically could not have occurred without Smith Vocational,” she said.