Seven seniors at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School took a last, slow walk away from the schoolhouse off State Road in West Tisbury at the school’s commencement on Sunday. A crowd of relatives, friends, and faculty and school staff packed into a large tent to bid farewell and fair winds to Domonique Aaron, Jessica Dupon, Sasha Iammarino, Brian Luce, Mattia Phaneuf, Erica Taylor, and Hannah VanDerlaske.
There were few dry eyes under the tent after the remarks by Jess Dupon, who’s leaving the school after 12 years there. After thanking her teachers, her best friend, and her parents, she said, “We’re not starting new lives, we’re not becoming new people. Why change the foundation of the way we were built at this school?”
Deborah Cutrer, a math teacher who is known around the school as DC, described how each graduate had developed at the school and contributed to it. Then she said, “I want to thank the graduates for this chance to share my thoughts with them one last time. And I want to encourage you graduates to love yourself the best and the worst. Love what you do, and try to find someone to pay you to do it. Create love where you go, because it will last when you leave. Cloak yourself in the love of your family; there are times you’ll need it to keep you going. And never forget how much you are loved by your charter school community.”