June 11, 2014
By Ann Needle
On Friday, June 6, Minuteman High School graduated more than 140 students—including seven from Stow—with some creative touches familiar to those who know the Lexington vocational school well.
The graduates from Stow were Kevin Benoit, whose career program was Plumbing; Brianna Ganimian, Engineering Technology; David Howe, Culinary Arts/Baking; Kayleigh King, Biotechnology; Alaina Mishley, Cosmetology; Trevor Roach, Early Education and Care; and Cam Taylor, Metal Fabrication.
Stow also took its share of honors. Among the recipients of the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence were Ganimian, Howe, King, and Mishley. Ganimian and Mishley received Career Program Awards for demonstrating the highest level of expertise in their career programs; both also were National Honor Society members. Howe earned an Academic Achievement Award for History/Social Studies, and Roach for Physical Education.
In scholarships, both Benoit and Roach earned Friends of Minuteman awards, honoring academic achievement and good citizenship. Benoit also received a Lexington Rotary Club Scholarship (for significant academic achievement and participation in school or community activities); the Troop 1 Stow Alumni, Inc. Award (for devotion to the principals of Boy Scouting); and the Stow Lions Club Award (recognizing a positive impact on the Stow community). Howe received a Human, Business & Commercial Service Award (for outstanding technical skills in his career field), along with the Minuteman Faculty Assn. Award/Elane Karkos Memorial Scholarship (for strength in academics and citizenship). And, Ganimian earned a Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
The $100,000 Bonus
The traditional commencement speeches included a few creative twists this year that appeared to meet with an appreciative audience. In her speech, Valedictorian Anita Viggh of Boxborough focused a bit on fish.
“Albert Einstein once said, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’ In my experience, traditional public schools are guilty of putting too much emphasis on student’s tree-climbing abilities, and by that I mean the student’s ability to do math and write essays or anything like that,” Viggh maintained. “This system is fine for those who excel at any core academic subject, but it’s not so great for the fish, if you know what I mean. That’s the beautiful thing about our school. Students still have to learn the core subjects because those are important, but those aren’t the only subjects that matter at Minuteman. During shop week, fish get to swim and moles get to dig and birds g
et to fly,” she said, referring to Minuteman’s class schedule of alternating a week of core academic subjects with another one that focuses each student on work in her or his career program.
“She joked that automotive shop made her feel like a ‘fish out of water,’ but for those who choose that shop – she was amazed at how comfortable and knowledgeable they were about cars,” recalled Stow’s Kathy King, parent of graduate Kayleigh King. “Everyone has different gifts, but as a society we need them all, and we need to respect each other whatever the gift. [Viggh] was funny and so respectful and caring toward the entire class.”
Minuteman administration also provided its own moments.
Kath King recalled Superintendent Dr. Edward Bouquillon, in his address, showing the Youtube hit, “Look Up,” a video vividly reminding students that the technology they are adept at can be an isolating force. King wryly noted the irony of the piece—which urged young people to put down their cell phones and tablets and talk directly to each other—wasn’t lost on students’ families, given some seemed intent on taking selfies at Friday’s ceremony.
Students even left with parting gifts. King explained that, in his closing remarks, Principal Ernest Houle told students he would like to give each of them their first $100,000 — just look under their seats. Taped beneath was a $100 Grand candy bar.