Greenfield High School graduation
Greenfield High graduates celebrate after receiving their diplomas at the June 1 graduation. (Michael Ramirez)

GREENFIELD — A huge crowd was on hand Saturday for the Greenfield High School Class of 2024 Commencement at the Bruins football stadium.

As is typical for this time of year, an overcast day welcomed the nearly 300 graduates, along with their parents, friends and school staff. Fortunately for all in attendance, a warm sun appeared at the start of the June 1 ceremony.

After all the soon-to-be alumni took their seats, classmate Latai Matelau sang her own rendition of the National Anthem. 

Featured speakers included Salutatorian Monica Bernal Santos, who was introduced by teacher Sandra Brusch, and Valedictorian Christian Raya, who was introduced by teacher John Radcliff. Both Bernal Santos and Raya gave appreciation to their families.

“I am endlessly thankful for the support of my parents who have done nothing but help me pursue my dreams,” said Bernal Santos. “To my sister, I am indebted to her as an exemplary role model, but I must admit I have surpassed her. Yet, as I stand here today, it is impossible to ignore the absence of one whose presence I miss, my beloved grandmother. While she may not be here in body, her spirit lives within me as a constant reminder of the values she instilled and the lessons she taught.”

Raya encouraged his graduating classmates to embrace the life they are living.

“Be extremely grateful for the life you are living, as we take so many things for granted and don’t cherish the things we have in the present until they are gone,” Raya said. “We need to take life one day at a time and not stress about the things that haven’t occurred yet. Everything takes time, so be patient and live in the moment.”

During the graduation, a moment of silence was observed for classmates that passed away before graduating, including Jeyson Hernandez, a special needs student who died in late April.

Many graduates wore buttons in memory of Hernandez, and his classmate Alexander Paniagua carried a large teddy bear into the stadium and placed it in an empty seat next to him during the ceremony.

Principal Janet Sanchez-Matos then presented the Class of 2024 to the audience and to Superintendent Caroline Cota, who conferred the diplomas.

The Board of Education then joined Sanchez-Matos, Cota and school staff to hand out diplomas to the Class. The commencement concluded with graduate Briana Campos leading her classmates as they turned their tassels to confirm their graduate status.

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