By Erin Post

Under a white tent June 16, the Harwood Union High School Class of 2007 flipped the tassels on their caps and played kazoos to celebrate their newly minted status as high school graduates.

One hundred fifty-nine students walked across the stage during the morning event to receive their diplomas from a line of Harwood officials. Family and friends spilled out of the tent and into the lawn; some snapped photos as graduates paraded from the school and into the tent.

Rusty Dewees, an actor and comedian well-known for his portrayal of "The Logger," served as commencement speaker.

He handed out "Logger" T-shirts to students and kept the crowd laughing.

 "I went to Stowe. It's hard for me to figure these things out," he quipped as he fiddled with the microphone at the start of his speech.

After ribbing of the school for its unusual "bent up" roof on the front entrance, Principal Duane Pierson got a T-shirt featuring the roof in profile.  

But Dewees had some wisdom to impart as well: He went on to tell the class of 2007 that talent only gets a person so far in life. Success comes with finding something to be passionate about and pursuing it "with a great amount of will and discipline."

He also challenged students to cultivate community wherever life takes them, and to remember Vermont as a place where neighbors and friends matter.

"People know your name," he said. "That's good."

Co-salutatorian Hannah Lincoln spoke of the unique talents and personalities contained within the class of 2007 -- from ferret collectors to speakers of Klingon -- and urged her classmates to take the sense of community at Harwood "wherever you go."

 Be willing to take risks, co-salutatorian Allyson Russell said to her classmates, and remember that "with knowledge comes responsibility."

"Now is our chance to define who we are," she said.

After receiving their diplomas, the class of 2007 played "We Are the Champions" kazoo-style to celebrate the day.

In the closing speech, valedictorian Michael Hardin asked his classmates to respect history while working hard to make a difference.

"Let's go out into the world and make our impression on everybody else," he said.

The Harwood Jazz Band and the school's singing group, I Cantori, performed during the ceremony, as did the Highland Bagpipers.

A color guard from the Harry N. Cutting American Legion Post #59 led the recessional.

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