North Smithfield High School Class of 2023 begins the next chapter

Olivia Langone accepts her diploma.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – It was a class of less than 100 students that celebrated a right of passage this week, with graduates in the North Smithfield High School Class of 2023 reflecting on their time growing up in the small town as they moved forward toward the next chapter.

“As we gather here to celebrate over a decade of hard work, perseverance, and learning, we are surrounded by people who have supported and inspired us along the way,” said Salutatorian Lauren Mania. “Parents, family members, friends, and teachers, you have guided us on our paths to becoming the people we are today, and as we leave North Smithfield High School and move onto the next chapters of our lives, we will not only carry with us the memories we have shared with you, but the lessons that you have taught us.”

Ethan Correia shakes hands with School Committee Chairman James Lombardi.

The ceremony, originally scheduled for Friday, was moved to Saturday evening due to stormy weather. But the delay didn’t dampen the spirits of the graduates as they bid farewell to their time at the school.

Social Studies Department Chairperson Natalie O’Brien served as master of ceremonies and the commencement included a special tribute to one former member of the class who was no longer with them. Friends of the late Anna Kitada, who died in 2018 following a four-year battle with cancer, shared memories from their years together.

“Anna brought kindness and sincerity with her everywhere she went,” said Abigail Trembley.

“Be the best self you can be, Anna did,” she advised her classmates.

Mania said that when she sat down to write some words of wisdom to pass along to the graduating class, she found herself in no place to give advice. Instead, the salutatorian said she asked members of the Class of 2035 – from Mr. Economos’s kindergarten class – along with two pre-school classes for their thoughts.

“Amelia advised us to ‘be good and be smart,’ and Teddy followed by adding ‘listen to your boss,’” said Mania. “Lennie and Landon reminded us to enjoy ourselves when they excitedly told me to ‘smile big’ and ‘go to the beach.'”

Keandre Alexander holds his diploma.

“As we move into our lives outside of high school and begin to form our new paths, there are times where we are going to encounter some obstacles, and for that, they advise us to ‘make sure you know how to read,’ ‘save your money,’ and ‘still play with your legos,’” Mania told the group gathered on Saturday, June 3. “And last but certainly not least, Kira said to ‘be confident.'”

“As you leave, and life starts moving faster, be sure to enjoy the moment you’re in, and appreciate at each stage of your life how far you’ve come, and the people that surrounded you as you did,” Mania said.

Valedictorian Daniel White reminded his classmates to be present in the moment, sharing a recent memory of riding his bike along a street in town.

“As the cool autumn breeze tickled my skin and the street lights shined down on me, I felt ripples of comforting tingles linger softly throughout my body,” said White. “While traveling down the seemingly endless road before me, my body was numb with happiness, and my smile was full of joy. For just a couple of minutes, everything fell right into place, and I was exactly where I was supposed to be.”

White said that he tried to capture the moment by taking a picture.

“When I glanced down at my screen, the scenery before me faded away, being slowly replaced by pixels that tried to resemble what I had just seen,” he said. “The photo itself was just an empty vessel that required my memory to fill its space with a more vivid illustration.”

“Ultimately, it was the meaningful connections I made with the world around me that I remember above all else. Being there, in the present, gave me the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and complexity of life in ways that my camera couldn’t materialize,” said White.

“Like I did with the photo, many of us tend to compress important memories and experiences into something tangible or minimize individual situations by making them just a part of something greater. In doing so, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to recognize our own growth and form our own unique perspectives and identities,” White added. “It’s only when we’re actively engaged with the people and activities we surround ourselves with that we receive any true gratification.”

“After we graduate today and start biking down separate roads, remember to look up,” he said. “Appreciate the events around us that make our lives memorable. Find genuine happiness in the small
wonders of our daily lives. Experience things for what they are, not what we expect them to be.”

“Finally, continue to pedal forward with purpose, exploring the things that interest us, and
ultimately making the world around us a better place.”

Keith Phaneuf accepts a diploma.

Below is a complete list of 2023 graduates.

  • Keandre Alexander
  • Madison Kendal Archambault
  • Ethan Arthur Battersby
  • Mariam E. Bayewumi
  • Samuel P Beauchemin^
  • Ashley Kathryn Berghammer
  • Brandon C Boudreau^
  • Lucas T Bruneault
  • Monica Budzyna^
  • Gregory B Casey^#
  • Gansett Blue Champagne
  • Ayden Maddox Chauvin
  • Azariah S. Chauvin
  • Issiah Shi Chauvin
  • William Angelo Connell#
  • Ethan Joseph Correia
  • Gabriel James Corriveau^
  • Abigail S Cunha^
  • Adrienne Lise Desmarais-Cimerol
  • Mason D DiNezza^
  • Brennan James Drolet^#
  • Samantha Rose Fagan
  • Kara E. Farmer^
  • Savannah V Farry
  • Nina Natalia Finn^
  • Christian M Gallant^ Emily S Garneau^
  • Zachary Scott Garnett#
  • Tanyana Inez Gawron
  • Susan Judith Gendron
  • Ethan R Geoghegan^
  • Joshua Aaron Girard^#
  • Nicole E. Glennon*^
  • Erika Rose Gonzalez^#
  • Patrick L. Grenier
  • Samantha A Gromkiewicz^
  • Spencer David Grumt
  • Riley Claire Gudas^
  • Zachary T Guernon
  • Joshua Durham Hanlon
  • Ethan J Harnois^
  • Alexavier Royal Hoyle
  • Lydia Hughes
  • Thomas Dexter Hurteau^
  • Lacey Lynn Jarry
  • Meghan E Jean^
  • Zackary Thomas Kerrigan^
  • Matthew Scott Lagasse#
  • Olivia L Langone^#
  • Grace O. LaPlante
  • Abigail Sophia Lariviere
  • Aiden Lariviere^
  • Joseph S Lawrence^
  • Samantha Mackenzie Ledger^
  • Luke David Losardo^
  • Emily Jordan Lussier^
  • Kairi Angell Mackenzie
  • Lauren Elizabeth Mania^
  • Bethany A Marsella^
  • Brandon Tobias Martin^
  • Connor J McNeill^
  • Andrew Martin McSally
  • Kyra Sady Meksavanh^
  • Lola Skyy Latour Mendes
  • Domenick Robert Neri*^#
  • Joseph Thomas Neves#
  • Aidan D Newberry
  • Joseph Leon Niedzwiadek
  • Krystyna Anna Niedzwiadek
  • Olivia N Nolan
  • Cameron JR Papski
  • Dylan Anthony Pate
  • Raelin Nicole Pepin
  • Keith M Phaneuf*^
  • Kylee Madison Phelan^
  • Brandon R. Pierel#
  • Nia Janae Powell^
  • David A Punchak
  • Charles D Rapoza
  • Jake M Reyes
  • Alexandra Elise Rhoderick
  • Caitlin Elizabeth Roden^
  • Amari O. Rolle
  • Carly Samek^
  • Joseph Samek
  • Abdul Muhaimen Shaker
  • Ryan Douglas Stets
  • Olivia Donatella Sukaskas^
  • William E Sullivan^#
  • Abigail Rose Tremblay^
  • Colin Verboort^
  • Cole M Vowels^
  • Daniel P White^
  • Logan Whitton^#
  • Brandon M Wholey
  • Laila Mae Young
  • Jason Michael Zifchfchock#

* National Honor Society ^ Rhode Island Honor Society #CTE Diploma

Krystyna Niedzwiadek smiles as she leaves the stage.

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