Haverhill High Graduates 484 with Pandemic Memories Looming Large Over Public Ceremony

Graduates embrace following ceremony at Trinity Stadium. (Mike Jarvis photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill graduated 484 seniors Friday night in as large a public gathering as the city has allowed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The stark change hit home as the Class of 2021 honored one of the school’s own, 19-year-old Logan Todd, who became Haverhill’s youngest victim of the disease when he died this past January.

“A year ago, Logan was first in line in a wheel chair when I presented him with a graduation certificate of achievement,” recalled Mayor James J. Fiorentini. “Logan was a young man who, despite his disabilities, smiled every day and every day put a smile on the face of everyone who met him.”

The mayor gave Todd’s brothers, Myles and Lucas Panneton, an honorary diploma for the young man. He further noted the city lost its 105th victim the day before.

Fiorentini also called attention to various student efforts that made a difference during the pandemic. The National Honor Society organized aid at food pantries, while other students participated in a beach clean-up; the Council on Youth Needs group with Gabriela Vargas and started the Hillies Connector Peer Mentoring Program; Nick Leung, Daniel Lawson and others helped coordinate students at food pantries; Michelle Rodriquez from the Council on Youth Needs and others organized virtual bedtime reading to help younger children; and two Junior ROTC students, Alice Marvina and Jonathon Orellana, volunteered at the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and at the Wreaths across America event.

School Committee Vice Chairman Scott W. Wood Jr. told students not to let any future obstacles define them.

“I always wanted to be a police officer in Haverhill. It was my dream, as far back as I can remember to be a police officer. It took me many times, many attempts, many failures, but finally, at age 37, I became the one of the oldest hires in recent history of the Police Department. In a way, I went full circle, from the youngest elected official in Haverhill at age 19 to the city’s oldest cop. And all it took was perseverance, determination and resilience.”

Other speakers included James Kritzas, class president; Evan Tsioropolous, valedictorian; Superintendent Margaret Marotta; and outgoing High School Principal Glenn Burns.

Music was performed by the HillieHarmonies, directed by John Salvi, and Haverhill High School Concert Band, directed by Dean Tsioropoulas. Soloists were Madalyn Hanson, Nicholas Castillo, Elijah Martinez and David Politis.

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