At Bow, kindness not unnoticed
Concord Monitor - 6/10/2018
For Zachary Udelson, being able to speak at Bow High School’s graduation seemed like a dream.
“I was born with cerebral palsy, which effects my speech,” Uldeson said, with fellow graduating senior Ben Guertin repeating his words for clarity. “This makes it ironic how I would apply to give this speech.”
Facing a unique set of challenges throughout his life, Udelson set out to overcome the challenge of being understood by his peers as part of his senior project. Despite the challenges he’s faced, Udelson shared some of what he has learned.
“We are quick to put a label on people who disagree with us,” he said. “We ignore them rather than listen to what they have to say.”
Udelson expressed gratitude for his peers who treated him with respect and patience. He said he knows it’s not easy for people to understand him, and people sometimes have a tendency to “put others in a box.”
“Whether you’ve known me for 15 years or just one, everyone has shown me kindness and patience,” Udelson said.
That enduring quality of kindness was a focal point of the ceremony, often used to sum up the attitudes of the 165 graduates.
Social studies teacher Lily Woo highlighted some of the efforts the class had made to exemplify these qualities during her remarks to outgoing students.
“You are the class in freshman year that raised over $1,000 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and you did so in one day,” Woo said.
She shared memories of students running around the cafeteria with plastic buckets collecting leftover lunch money from their peers.
“You are the class sophomore year that founded a club here at Bow High School, the Kindness Club, a club dedicated to practicing acts of kindness throughout our school,” Woo said. “You recognized what it means to be a community.”
This year marked the first graduating class involving Dunbarton students, who began attending high school in Bow in 2014. It was also the first commencement ceremony for Bow Principal Brian O’Connell.
O’Connell said the Class of 2018 was special to him and made his first year a very smooth transition.
“They were just such a positive influence on the school and on the underclassmen,” O’Connell said. “It made my first year just incredibly smooth because they were leading the way.”
Justin Porath, who is joining the Marines, said his favorite high school memory is an event called “intersession,” where students take part in various activities over three days.
Porath said he played paintball, went whitewater rafting and took a backpacking trip.
Brandon Tibbetts said his favorite memory was winning the state hockey championship.
“The team was like a family to me and the coaches were unbelievable,” he said.
Tibbetts, who will attend Southern New Hampshire University in the fall, said the most valuable lesson he learned was how to manage his time and study better.
Lea Crompton of Dunbarton said her favorite memory was being welcomed into a new school. Crompton said she played soccer and basketball at the school, which helped introduce her to people she otherwise wouldn’t have known.
Crompton, who will attend Lyndon State College in the fall to study exercise science, said the biggest challenge she’ll face going forward is indecisiveness.
“I guess making a decision, because, I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do,” Crompton said.
(Jacob Dawson can be reached at 369-3325, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jaked156.)