BYFIELD — Members of the Triton Regional High School Class of 2019 took their final walk as a group during graduation ceremonies Saturday morning.
A total of 175 students comprise Triton's Class of 2019 and 167 graduates took part in Saturday's ceremony on the Byfield campus.
The day's alumni guest speaker, Pine Grove Elementary School fourth grade teacher Jillian Pinto began her speech by quoting deadpan comedian Steven Wright.
"'If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you,'" Pinto said.
Pinto added that success is only provided by failure.
"It is comforting to know that we are not alone in this," she said. "That failure indeed touches everyone."
Pinto went on to tell the graduates of the many failures of author J. K. Rowling, Walt Disney and Albert Einstein.
"Winston Churchill once said, 'success is not final. Failure is not final. It is the courage to continue that counts,'" Pinto said. "Believe it or not, you have known this all along. It's conditioned in us from the day we are born."
Small successes, like a student who organizes a bake sale to raise money for their friend who is suffering from cancer or one student putting their arm around another on the way to the nurse's office, are just as important as larger ones, according to Pinto.
"At the end of the day, (these students and their small successes) have taught me way more than I have taught them," she said. "Humor and kindness above all. Live in the moment. Appreciate the little things."
Salutatorian Abigail Wing recounted hers and her fellow classmates' awkward initial days as freshmen at the high school before illustrating their growth as sophomores and juniors.
"Now that I've reached the finish line of my high school career, I can't help but think back to my starting point," Wing said. "My freshman self would not recognize the person I am today. Four years ago, I thought of high school in a purely academic sense. I knew that if I work hard, I could do great things in the future."
But students need not wait until graduating high school to "enjoy and experience life," she added.
"My best memories of high school are not the late nights spent studying for tests I will soon forget ever existed," Wing said. "What I truly recall is all of the special moments in between what was necessary to succeed. The announcement of a new VTV episode on the intercom, trying to keep myself warm at a football game and the sound of the bell at 2:13, Triton time, before summer vacation."
"Each and every student" helped to make Wing's Triton experience memorable, she added.
"We will remember eating hundreds of lunches in the cafeteria with all of our friends, the feeling of departing for the year and saying 'goodbye' to all of our friends before summer and getting yelled at for breathing in the library," Wing said. "Now it's time to say one last goodbye. I hope you never forget how little details had momentous impacts on our lives."
Valedictorian Elisabeth Lindholm told her classmates that "this morning, high school becomes a memory and we are forced to deal with the new obstacles which come our way."
"We all have our goals and dreams, and whether it is going directly into the workforce, joining the military, or attending a college or university, we are all doing something with our lives," Lindholm said. "Starting now, we hold the power to impact the world and take it by storm."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.