Hoosac Valley Announces Class of 2024 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Hoosac Valley Announces Class of 2024 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

CHESHIRE, Mass. — Hoosac Valley High School proudly announced the valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2024. Talia Rehill, the valedictorian, delivered an inspiring speech to her 40 classmates, urging them to approach life with the intensity and determination of a hurricane.

“This is the nature of the hurricane, where passion, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of excellence define who we are,” Rehill said during her address on Friday evening. “Let us carry this mindset with us as we forge ahead, knowing that with an unstoppable resolve and a steadfast commitment to our goals, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way.”

Rehill, who will be the second student from Hoosac Valley to attend Harvard, shared how her mindset has been instrumental in achieving her dreams. She recounted how, in 2020, she wrote down her goals on a piece of paper, declaring she would become the valedictorian and attend Harvard.

“All these years later, that handwritten goal remains hanging on my bedroom wall. I remember first holding that paper up to my wall and securing it with Scotch Tape. I remember knowing that my dream was far-fetched to any rational person, but it never was to me,” she said. “I remember knowing that I would achieve everything I said I would down to the very last word.”

Despite her academic ambitions, Rehill emphasized the importance of balance. She admitted to enjoying moments of relaxation and fun, such as outings to Applebee’s, bonfires at Jack’s, and swims in Onota Lake, especially when the pressures of homework felt overwhelming.

She encouraged her classmates to embrace their “wild side” and not to lose sight of their dreams.

“For all the students who are here in the stands today with the dream and the drive, topped with the need for fun, my advice to you is to give in,” she said. “Having a wild side is a wonderful thing that will teach you more about life than you could ever pull from a book. Your high school years are meant to be enriched by your classrooms and your clubs, but the real development is what happens to you when you’re vulnerable.”

Rehill concluded her speech by reflecting on the small rural community that shaped them.

“As we embark on the next chapter of our lives, let us remember that hard work will always triumph over mere talent. Coming from a small town like ours, where opportunities may seem limited and the odds may sometimes feel stacked against us, we have learned the true value of perseverance and resilience,” she said. “…Being a part of the Hoosac Valley community has instilled in us a spirit of determination and grit that propels us to work twice as hard to achieve our dreams.”

She also requested a moment of silence for Noah Brown, a classmate who tragically passed away in 2015. Although he was only eight at the time, he would have been a member of the Class of 2024.

Salutatorian David Scholz also addressed the graduates, expressing gratitude to family, friends, and teachers. He acknowledged the significance of their graduation day.

“Today is an occasion that we have looked forward to since our first time stepping into the high school, or maybe even before that,” Scholz said. “Above all, it is a memorable day for everyone here because it marks an important milestone in our lives. None of us are here by mistake, and this shows a cumulation of our hard work, dedication, and perseverance day in and day out.”

Scholz highlighted a special moment from the past week when seniors opened their time capsules, which they had sealed in 9th grade. This activity brought back many fond memories and reminded them of the challenges they faced, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic during their freshman year.

The ceremony was a poignant reminder of the resilience and determination of the Hoosac Valley Class of 2024. Both Rehill and Scholz’s speeches underscored the importance of hard work, balance, and community support in achieving their dreams.

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