MST graduation 2024: ‘It’s crazy to think four years ago, we we’re all sitting behind a screen’

Manchester School of Technology Class of 2024. Photo/Stacy Harrison

MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester School of Technology Principal Timothy Otis reflected on where his 61 graduates started and how far they’d come as he prepared to launch the Class of 2o24 – the first of four graduations taking place Saturday at the SNHU Arena, and ninth graduating class from the city’s technical high school.

“At this time four years ago, all New Hampshire schools were shut down and you finished your middle school education remotely. While in 8th grade, you made a choice to attend the Manchester School of Technology with hopes that you would enter the building in September and begin your journey through high school. We know that did not happen as we stayed fully remote until February of 2021,” Otis wrote in his farewell message published in the graduation program.

“At that time, some of you returned in person on alternating days while others stayed fully remote until May or even September 2021. Despite a rough and chaotic start to your first year of high school, you have succeeded and are here today to be recognized for your accomplishments and to receive your diploma as a graduate of the Manchester School of Technology. ”

Manchester Mayor Jay Ruais attends his first Manchester graduation in his capacity as mayor. Photo/Stacy Harrison

Otis addressed the students and parents from the podium shortly after the 8 a.m. ceremony commenced, reminding them that everything has changed at the speed of life in their world – things that didn’t exist two decades ago like iPhones, Netflix, Instagram, Tik Tok, drones and other technologies – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

“The world around you is changing so fast we can’t possibly predict the exact skills you’ll need ten or twenty years from now,” Otis said, noting that people currently working at ARMI in the millyard, in the field of 3D printing of human organs, could not have imagined that occupation when they were graduating from high school.

“Education has had to adapt to these changes. Less focus is on the memorization of facts and more focus is on the ability to solve problems and work collaboratively,” Otis said.

Class President Jacob Khabbaz also recalled how things started for the class of 2024.

Manchester School of Technology Class President Jacob Khabbaz addresses his classmates for one last time. Photo/Stacy Harrison

“It’s crazy to think that four years ago, we we’re all sitting behind a screen. We went from doing ‘exercises’ at home to attending dances, walks against hunger, and participating in spirit weeks. Starting high school behind a screen was difficult for all of us. It was also difficult for us to adapt to the new environment and expectations when we returned. However, we all sit here today. Despite all of the challenges we’ve faced in the last four years, we’ve all grown into open-minded and passionate individuals,” Jacob said.

He recognized that from this day on the Class of 2024 will go their separate ways toward a future that is meaningful for them, including  four classmates who have enlisted in the military – Nick Kaizer, Zack Houde, Frank Robitaille and Isaiah Rivera.

Jacob also spoke about the importance of friendships forged during high school years, and the shared memories that they will carry with them.

“Things will come, and things will go; however, life goes on no matter what. It’s important to keep a positive mindset with everything you do. When things leave your life, know that it happens for a reason. With a positive mindset, you can move forward despite the loss, and achieve your goals,” he said, ending with a quote by Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you think is great work and the only way to do that is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. As with everything that has to do with the heart, you’ll know it when you’ve found it.”

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Graduates from Manchester School of Technology, Class of 2024