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WESTFORD — It doesn’t take a weatherman or a reporter to tell you that it rained Saturday, but for the 161 graduating seniors at Nashoba Valley Technical High School and their loved ones, it was easy to confuse misty eyes for tears.

This was the final time that parents would be watching their sons and daughters at a school activity before their ritual passage into adulthood, and there were handkerchiefs aplenty.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, the father of a 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, told the graduating class that while it is difficult for parents to bond with their children these days, he is able to bond with his children over sports and music.

Leone, a long-time Golden Gloves referee at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, said he plays games with his children where he asks them to name musical instruments in songs he enjoys from artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and John Mellencamp.

Leone referred to three passages from Mellencamp’s “Peaceful World” single in telling graduating seniors to “Be careful with your heart and what you love … It’s what you do and not what you say. If you’re not part of the future, then get out of the way.”

Leone told students, “Don’t ever let anybody say you never met your potential. Surpass it. You define what’s important to you, who you are, and what you’re going to be. Sometimes, there’s a detour or two. Sometimes, there’s a failure or two. Be persistent. Keep pushing. It will take time, but you will get there.”

Valedictorian Kyle Dunbar of Townsend told his classmates, “It’s OK to have regrets, but what’s important is that you learn from them. I learned from you that I need to live a little and have some more fun with my life. … Treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Salutatorian Jessica Desmond of Chelmsford added, “We showed that, although not everyone loves each other, we still respect each other. Sometimes, serious things happen, but there’s always someone in this crowd of students before you that you can count on to cheer you up.”

Or tear you up, as they did Saturday.

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