GREENFIELD — Crossing a stage at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Saturday wasn’t quite the “final exit” Greenfield High School seniors had imagined for themselves when the school year started.
“I don’t think any of us could have possibly imagined graduation in the middle of a horse track, yet here we are,” said Class President Kevin Chen.
When students and their guests arrived to the fairgrounds on Saturday morning, they were directed to a designated parking spot where they were to remain in their vehicles for the duration of the ceremony. Students were instructed prior to the ceremony to only bring one vehicle to the fairgrounds, with the exception of families with two households.
“As we closed schools on March 13, I wish I knew then that that was probably the last moment I would have to see them in person,” Patenaude said, tearing up. “So while I have their ear one final time, I want to remind each and every member of this class what I have always known: You have a fight, a will and a desire in you that I have never before witnessed as a collective whole in any other class.”
In his address, Valedictorian Gabriel Larouche said he wanted to thank the essential employees who have no choice but to continue working through the pandemic. “I don’t agree with having this unnecessary mass gathering during a pandemic, but hopefully from now on we will start considering others as more important than ourselves,” he said.