Class president captures media's attention with graduation speech

Jul 7, 2024

LAKEVILLE — Apponequet graduate Mason Macuch never imagined he’d get a call from the Washington Post after his graduation speech.

Or one from the Associated Press or NBC News for that matter. 

But Macuch’s unique ending to his graduation speech as class president of Apponequet High School garnered the attention of the press for good reason: he wrote a personalized letter to every one of the 180 students in his graduating class as a way to say goodbye before they went their respective ways.

The idea came about because Macuch knew he wanted to find a way in his speech to show his appreciation for his class as a whole, but mentioning everyone by name wasn’t feasible. 

“I wanted to think of a way to make everyone feel recognized in our class and I thought the best way to do that would be to write the notes,” he said. 

Macuch also wrote thank you notes to his high school teachers before the last day of school. 

He said that as a sentimental person, he thought a handwritten note would be a good parting gift. “I always like receiving a note from someone. I think it’s something special to have and it’s something you can always keep.” 

He also knew that expressing kind sentiments to his classmates was a matter of now or never, as this would probably be the last time he saw many of the people sitting before him. 

“I thought this would be a nice way to show I admired them and share memories we had together,” he said.

The last thing he wanted was for his graduation speech to be all about him, which happens all too often, he said.

“I wanted mine to be a good representation of our class and about everyone because that’s what our graduation ceremony is: an exciting day for all of us. So when I thought about how I wanted to end my speech, this seemed right.”

He undertook the task despite warnings from his graduation coordinator that it would be too time consuming. “I told her, I think I can do it,” he said, and spent the morning hours in the week leading up to graduation checking off each name on the class list.

Macuch concluded his speech instructing audience members to reach under their chairs to find a personalized note.  

Based on the reactions he received from classmates for the gesture, Macuch achieved his goal of making everyone feel a part of the graduation ceremony. 

“I think people really liked it,” he said. “A lot of people texted me right after graduation saying ‘thank you so much, you have no idea how much that meant,’ or people came up to me saying ‘that was so kind, thank you so much.’”

But the effects of his actions rippled far beyond the ‘thank yous” he received from his peers. After receiving his diploma, Macuch got calls from the Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC Boston and NBC New York– which he never expected. 

Getting media attention for what he did was something he “didn’t even think about once,” he said. 

Doing these kinds of things are in his nature, he admitted. Macuch served as the community service coordinator of the Apponequet chapter of the National Honor Society and volunteers at a dance center that gives classes to people with special needs. 

He strives to be a selfless person. “I don’t want to be around people who are selfish, so I try not to be selfish myself,” he said.