Block Island celebrates the Class of 2022 in grand style
Originally released by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and since copied by many others, “Have you ever Seen the Rain” is about the calm before the storm. The narrator predicts this will result in a sun shower, an uncommon weather phenomenon in which the sun is shining, but it’s raining.
That metaphor conveys the graduation of the 2022 Hurricanes senior class from the Block Island School, an event held at the Southeast Lighthouse in a steady drizzle this past Sunday, one offering great promise for all the graduates’ sunny and challenging futures.
The day was kicked off by Superintendent Dr. Robert Gerardi who spoke of the Robert Fulghum book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” which led him to the kindergarten classroom this week to collect advice for the graduates, drawing widespread laughter from the large crowd assembled. “Remember your roots, don’t waste anything, clean your room, send your parents a nice text, and don’t forget to feed your pets.” Gerardi reminded the graduates that life is too short to wake up with regrets.
One of the regrets for many in the crowd was their lack of raingear, but the graduates sat beaming through the entire ceremony decked out in Block Island Hurricanes red robes in seemingly no hurry to excuse the gathered assembled before them. Rain be damned.
Valedictorian Rory Crawford and Salutatorian Chloe Weber shared the microphone while recounting life’s stories experienced growing up in school, classmate by classmate. At once giggling with laughter, and tearful, the emotion was palpable as they touched on the unique contribution each classmate made to growing up as a person both in school, and on the island. The rain served nicely as cover for tears for many in the crowd.
High School English teacher Mr. Michael Petrik, introduced by Whitney McGinnes, spoke on the unique character of this class and their fondness for reading, doing impressions, and storytelling. Taking a long hard look at the crowd, and smiling broadly while leaning onto the podium, Petrik reminded everyone that those impressions and stories often “involved you.” There are no secrets on Block Island.
Town First Warden André Boudreau handed out citations to the students from State Senator Susan Sosnowski, State Representative Blake Filippi, and the Town Council. Senior Hector Perez Sanchez recognized seven, 50-year-graduates from the class of 1972, some of whom had sneaked off to their cars to warm up and dry off. Retiring teachers, along with 34-year veteran teacher and current Co-Principal Kristine Monje, were also recognized.
The presentation of many individual awards and scholarships was handled swiftly through the stiffening rain with School Committee Chair Jessica Willi and Dr. Gerardi distributing the diplomas to each student, some of whom had cheering sections at ready.
And then it was over, families charging the stage to get family photographs amid broad smiles, hugs, back-slaps, and some tears. The class briefly reassembled to sing the Alma Mater and then joined in the Farewell to Seniors march. The Southeast Light Foundation hosted a reception inside the lighthouse allowing guests the chance to dry off and savor the day, just as the sun briefly peeked out, a sun shower indeed that led to a beautiful late afternoon of family parties under a blue sky.