SOUTH HADLEY — When Michael Zhou first came to South Hadley High School two years ago, he said that he initially felt he did not belong and missed his previous home in China.
But the people he met at the school “didn’t take long to convince me that there was no need to be afraid” of his new community, said Zhou, the president of the school’s National Honor Society. Soon, he said, South Hadley became “a place to call home.”
“I have heard a lot of voices telling me how great the world outside this town is,” Zhou said. “But I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, out of all the cities and towns I have moved between, there has been no community as amazing as this one, where we build lifelong relationships and connect like one big family.”
On Friday evening, the school’s 125 graduating seniors received their diplomas at Mount Holyoke College’s Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater, where student speakers lauded their peers for fostering a sense of community at the school while also excelling in academics, sports, the arts and vocational programs.