The Mashpee High School Class of 2018 celebrated a major milestone with family, friends and teachers Saturday morning, June 2, in the school's packed gymnasium.

Mashpee Public Schools Superintendent Patricia M. DeBoer and Mashpee Middle/High School Principal Mark L. Balestracci welcomed the 97-student class and all those gathered for the colorful and musical event.

Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe brought unique cultural voices to the ceremony, with graduating senior Chyla D. Bingham-Hendricks reciting a Wampanoag prayer and the Red Hawk Singers, led by David Pocknett, performing traditional percussion-and-vocal music.

The school's graduation band performed Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" and musical selections from Pixar's film "Brave," and the school's graduation chamber choir sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a traditional melody called "The Parting Glass."

The commencement speaker, who was selected by the class officers, was physics teacher Daniel E. Leader. He urged the graduating class to choose their friends wisely and look for new neighbors who hold views that are different from their own. 

After the graduates received their diplomas and a copy of the Dr. Seuss book "Oh, the Places You'll Go," class valedictorian Celia E. Krefter, who will attend Columbia University in September, addressed her classmates about the importance of remembering their roots in Mashpee as they go into the larger world.

"We will always have the Mashpee community behind us," she said. 

Class President Frederick A. Hanna III, who has served in that position for the past four years, gave the farewell address.

"One thing that makes this class special is the lasting impression we've made on this school," he said. "Our sense of community and compassion sets us apart, and we're going to make an impact on this world." 

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