SOUTHWICK – The Emerald Shield award is a long-honored tradition bestowed upon a graduate and a teacher for their contributions to Southwick Regional School.
This year’s recipients are student Abby Hoschouer and math teacher Amy Pomeroy. The pair received recognition during the July 25 graduation ceremony.
Hoschouer, who served as class vice president, offered a few words for her classmates as well as those who helped them along the way, including families, teachers, administrators and more. She noted that the Class of 2020 ended the year under extreme circumstances and a graduation didn’t seem possible two months ago.
“A huge thank you to everyone who made this graduation ceremony possible, because I think I speak for most of us when I say I really didn’t know if we were going to get here,” she said.
Hoschouer said COVID-19 brought with it lessons no one expected.
“If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that things happen quickly, and high school is no exception,” she said. “One minute you think you’re getting a nice two-week vacation, the next you’re done with high school and suddenly toilet paper is a national currency. I don’t think the Southwick-Tolland-Granville school system ever anticipated a senior class that wanted so desperately to be in school versus skipping it.
“However, this is not about what we missed this year but how we came together over the past four, and as cliche as it sounds, it did go by fast.”
Hoschouer recalled joining the rest of her class when Granville Village School closed.
“It seems like just yesterday the School Committee shipped all 15 of us down from the deep woods of Granville to join this class in eighth grade. Not my best year,” Hoschouer said. “I think I spoke to a total of five new people that I did not already know from Granville. Now I’ve put myself in the position to give a speech in front of all 113 or so of them. As horribly awkward as eighth grade and the introduction to this class was for me, they still held many of my first experiences with this group.”
Hoschouer spoke of memories that had an impact on her, but likely could not be recalled by others.
“That’s kind of what high school is though, really. We make a bunch of tiny impacts on each other’s lives that shape us into the people we become- sometimes without even knowing it,” she said.
Hoschouer acknowledged that moving forward, life will be very different, and friends may drift apart, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be rooting for them.
“No matter what paths we each travel and how far they take us I have nothing but high hopes for what everyone is going to do,” Hoschouer said. “But if we don’t keep in touch and I hear about you doing great things, I’ll be proud to say I went to high school with you and would like to thank you for all of the impacts you’ve made on me over the past four years.”