Above: Members of the Class of 2022 throw their caps into the air at the end of graduation Sunday. Credit: Tracy Coppola
By Morgan Walsh
The East Greenwich High School Class of 2022 graduated Sunday at Veterans Memorial Theater in Providence, the first time since 2019 an EGHS graduating class could enjoy an indoor and mask-free graduation ceremony.
“Today is like no other,” said Supt. Alexis Meyer in her address during the ceremony. “Today we formally confirm the successful completion of high school. Again, a day where dreams take flight as these East Greenwich graduates begin the next chapter of their lives.”
The Class of 2022 had a unique high school experience as their 10th and 11th grade years they learned online due to Covid. Speeches given by the class council, Mrs. Meyer, and EGHS Principal Kevin Hopkins echoed the sentiment that despite the setbacks and struggles, this year’s graduates grew stronger from the perseverance and strength they had shown.
Similarly, Valedictorian Saloni Jain told her classmates success should be measured in growth and not just accomplishments.
“We often forget the lengthy and arduous journey over the mountains of failure it took for us to get here,” said Jain. “A journey that has not only led us to a destination but has also helped us build character and perseverance.”
Salutatorian Julia Xu started her speech recalling the hardships, “The past four years have been . . . objectively terrible. We were put through a global pandemic, we were forced to isolate ourselves and stay inside, we had to miss the World War One debate, our junior prom, and countless other experiences.”
Xu then changed her tone, pointing out that it’s important for the class to look forward to new experiences after graduation and should be excited for what is to come.
After the seniors received their diplomas and shook hands with School Committee Chair Anne Musella, the graduates threw their caps in the air and officially ended their time as EGHS students.
You can find a list of the graduates here: 2022 EGHS Graduates. The story continues about Ivy Day after these photos:
As has been tradition, Ivy Day was held the Friday before graduation, in the school courtyard. Ivy Day serves as a way for seniors to be individually recognized for their accomplishments at EGHS and the class can share their history – ultimately it’s like a more intimate ceremony than the regular graduation. The ceremony began with a group of the school’s juniors wearing white and escorting the seniors into the courtyard by holding the ceremonial two chains of ivy.
“This ceremony is the last time that we will be together as a class at the school before we all go our separate ways. We all get to sit here and reminisce about the times we had in schools and think about the future ahead of us, but the most important part of this tradition is the planting of the ivy plant,” explained senior class co-social chair Sadie Moore.
The ivy is planted in the courtyard of the school and signifies the growth of the graduates as they branch out from the school and continue forward. Still they will all share common roots like the branches of the ivy.
“As we put this plant into the ground it signifies the mark we as a class left on East Greenwich high school,” said Stella Jackson, senior class co-social chair, “As the ivy grows and the roots spread it signifies the roots we gain during our time here. We all took root here and are now growing out of what we once knew. As we go out into the world to battle our new adventures it is important to remember what led us to this point.”
Prior to the planting of the ivy, two seniors, Steven Timperley and Jonah Hill, were honored during the ceremony. Steven Timperley was congratulated for being one of three seniors in Rhode Island to be accepted into the United States Naval Academy. Jonah was given the Outstanding Senior Award by last year’s recipient Olin Thompson. As explained by James Mire, an EGHS Biology teacher, Jonah was acknowledged for serving the EGHS community since his freshman year, being compassionate to all members of the community, a role model on the football and basketball team, and coaching Unified Basketball.
The class gift was also announced by class treasurers Chloe Euston and Alexandra Fay. This year the seniors will be giving the school three new picnic tables to be put in the senior court yard to be enjoyed by future seniors during lunch.
Following Ivy Day an art show was held in the library to showcase the works of many talented seniors at EGHS. The room was filled with everything from sculptures and self-portraits, to digital art and printed tote bags.
As the senior class of 2023 continues onto the next step of their lives, they will continue to have, as Mrs. Meyer put it in her graduation and ivy day speeches, “their village” of family members, classmates, and community members there to support them wherever they go.
Morgan Walsh, a junior at EGHS, is a reporter for EG News.