Updated June 7
On Friday, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School held its 62nd annual Class Night at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. Many Island organizations came together to award the class of 2021. According to Jessica Estrella, MVRHS administrative support personnel, the 483 awards totaled over $1,155,063, including several awards with undisclosed amounts.
The night was a celebration of the students’ four years at MVRHS and a cheer for their futures. According to opening speaker and director of guidance John Fiorito, this was the first in-person event MVRHS held since the winter of 2020.
“The seniors have been through an experience that was, dare I say, unprecedented,” said Fiorito. “You have my sincerest congratulations, you have my deepest respect for the way you showed up over the past 15 months, and for the way you stepped up as supportive members of our school community.”
COVID made the scholarship programs dubious at first, but Fiorito said, “When we assumed the worst, we were floored by the extent to which the community rallied.”
Jackson Wojnowski was the representative speaker from the class of 2021, a student whom Principal Sara Dingledy described as “brilliant, earnest, and a kind soul.”
It was the first time in a few years a student speaker appeared. His speech was a retrospective on the years of high school. “The past four years of high school had simultaneously felt like an infinite and a microsecond,” said Wojnowski. He gave thanks to the parents in the audience. “Without you guys, we wouldn’t even be here,” said Wojnowski.
Wojnowski also reflected on the gains and losses: from the friends made, new family members entering the world, to the loved ones who passed away, and he asked the audience to “please, take a moment.” At the conclusion of Wojnowski’s speech, he received a standing ovation.
The night had a few unexpected announcements. The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby broke its own record this year by awarding a total of $76,000 in scholarships, according to Derby secretary Maryanne Jerome.
After Doug Best, owner of D. Best construction, handed out his company’s scholarships, he announced a spontaneous award of $100 to all of the senior students to help with their travel expenses. Best’s announcement led to surprised and excited clapping and cheering from the students.
Many of the scholarships were in honor of someone who passed away. Sixty names were listed as a part of the memory of the memorial fund scholarships. Although they have passed away, these people continue their contributions to the Island community through the scholarships.
One of these scholarships was in memory of Joseph A. Jones, who passed away nearly three years ago. His mother, Elizabeth Jones, spoke in remembrance of her son, and said she saw various traits in the scholarship applicants, such as humility, courage, and at times uncertainty.
“I am honored with the opportunity to glimpse into your lives and all your possibilities,” said Jones.
For a complete listing of scholarship awards and their recipients, both MVRHS class of 2021 and Martha’s Vineyard postgraduate awards, please be sure to check out the Graduation supplement in The Martha’ Vineyard Times.