North Walpole Native, Susanna Compare, Graduates from Kurn Hattin with High Honors
WESTMINSTER, VT— Miss Susanna Compare of North Walpole, NH, graduated from Kurn Hattin Homes for Children on Saturday, June 7. Compare, a residential student at Kurn Hattin since 2010, finished her 8thgrade year with a long list of achievements, both academic and extracurricular. A regular on the high honor roll, she graduated at the top of her class, earning the title of class valedictorian and winning this year’s W.I. Mayo Scholarship, a $200 scholarship awarded annually to the most outstanding all-around student. In addition, she won the Massachusetts Board of Directors Award for excellence in writing. During her five years at Kurn Hattin Compare excelled in the music program and was a member of the school’s award-winning select choir, as well as playing the trumpet in the marching band and jazz ensemble. As a result, she was also chosen as this year’s winner of the annual Kurn Hattin Instrument Award for outstanding musicianship, receiving her own trumpet. Looking ahead, Compare has been accepted to attend the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania, where she will begin her freshman year of high school in September, 2014.
IMAGE: Class of 2014 Kurn Hattin Valedictorian, Susanna Compare | Photo credit: Kristie Lisai
As class valedictorian, Compare addressed Kurn Hattin staff, students and family members in a speech during Saturday’s commencement ceremony, honoring the late poet Maya Angelou, saying, “Maya Angelou, who passed away last week, once said, ‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’ Every moment that I spend at Kurn Hattin is meaningful. Today is the day that we must move forward and start a new chapter in our lives. We will look back on those moments for years to come and remember how lucky we were.”
Established in 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster, Vermont is a charitable, year-round home and school for boys and girls, ages 5-15, who are affected by tragedy and social or economic hardship. Kurn Hattin Homes transforms the lives of children and their families forever.
Valedictorian Speech by Susanna Compare
June 7, 2014
Hello Families, Friends and staff,
Maya Angelou, who passed away last week, once said-“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”
Every moment that I spend at Kurn Hattin is meaningful. Today is the day that we must move forward and start a new chapter in our lives, but we still have all of these moments tucked into our memories. We will look back on those moments for years to come and remember how lucky we were.
Sometimes in our lives we come across places filled with people who make it that much harder to say goodbye. These are the type of people that I have found at Kurn Hattin. Being surrounded by wonderful people who care is truly a blessing, a blessing that fills me with gratitude. Gratitude is what this day is about. Today is not only about celebrating our successes, but also showing gratitude to you, the people who helped get us here, because without you we would not have succeeded.
Our successes have not merely been measured by what we have learned in our classrooms, but by how we have been able to come together as a family. During our journey, we have experienced the joys of each other’s laughter and the sorrows of each other’s tears. We have experienced the excitement of being on live TV together, the thrill of supporting our beloved music teacher as she became a finalist for a Grammy Award, and the joy of spending our last days together in Cape Cod, all with the hope that time would stand still.
If there is one thing that I have learned at Kurn Hattin it is that you cannot stop the passage of time. Kurn Hattin has given us this time to play together, learn together and grow together. With this has come healing, because time heals.
I was once told that in life we have a choice. We can show the side of us that is full of anger, insecurities, and rage or we can show the side that is full of kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness. It is my hope for the graduates seated behind me and all of you seated in this auditorium that you show your kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness for everyone to see. Let the beauty show through the bad times, and shine through all the rest.
My journey to this day started five years ago, and I can not thank my family enough. Here at Kurn Hattin I was given the opportunity to have a childhood, something that I will cherish in my heart and soul forever. It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, and Kurn Hattin has proven that to me. They have given me a chance in life that I never thought existed. Here I have met people that have kind and open hearts. These are the people that I call my family. The people who have guided me through my time here and each day have taught me about the value of living life to the fullest. I would like to thank my mother, my siblings, my mentors, the houseparents, the directors, the teachers, and every other staff member who has guided me, supported me and encouraged me. Most importantly I would like to thank my classmates. These are the people who moivated me to do my best. They are the ones who taught me about true friendship, gratitude and time. No matter if your last day at Kurn Hattin is today or seven years from now, it is my hope that you will take every second that you have here at Kurn Hattin and cherish it. Time is precious and once its gone you can’t get it back.
A person once said “The future lies before you like a field of driven snow, be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.” With this said, I wish the graduating Class of 2014 the very best of luck, and I hope that every step you take in life is full of pride and happiness. But remember that Kurn Hattin bound us together as brothers and sisters. We are here, hand in hand, ready to soar into the universe together. We don’t know where we will end up, but we know that when we are lost in this great big world, we can call upon Kurn Hattin to lift us up again, because Kurn Hattin Homes will always and forever be our home.
Congratulations to the class of 2014!!