THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FriDAy, JUnE 7, 2024 Page 15 The Sounds of Saugus By Mark E. Vogler Good morning, Saugus Last Friday night was a great night for the citizens of Saugus – especially the families and friends of the 178 Saugus High School seniors who received their diplomas at the school’s 153rd commencement exercises. The weather was the best I’ve seen for all of the Saugus High graduations during the eight-plus years I’ve been covering the town as editor of The Saugus Advocate. If you take the time to talk to these kids, everyone has got an interesting story to tell about their past and their future goals. I like to get there early and ferret out some of the interesting stories of these kids. This year, I got into the visitors’ parking area in front of the Saugus Middle-High School at about 3:45. The only people at Christie Serino Jr. Memorial Stadium upon my arrival were the camera and sound crews from Saugus TV and Saugus Public Schools. Nicolly Viera Budkowsky, a 20-year-old immigrant from Brazil, was the very first student to arrive. She showed up with her mom at 4 p.m. because she worried about missing the ceremony. Most students began arriving at about 5 p.m. – a full hour before commencement exercises got underway. “I came to the U.S. in 2021 and I couldn’t understand anything,” Nicolly told me. “This is a big day for me. But my mom is more excited,” she said. The day was indeed special for Erika Budkowsky, who got to celebrate her 39th birthday by attending her daughter’s graduation. Nicolly, who was clutching one of those graduation teddy bears, said she hopes to use her high school education and all she has learned to create a store. She said she plans on taking some marketing courses at North Shore Community College. Sometime at around 5, I ran into Jordan Chantra, an honor student that I had met a few weeks earlier at this year’s “Unsung Hero Award” night. I complimented Jordan about the colorful red and blue stole he was wearing. I mentioned that I noticed a lot more seniors wearing them this year. Jordan told me that immigrant students like him wear the stoles, which are decorated with the colors and the flags from their native countries. Jordan’s stole honored his native Cambodian roots. Soon after, I ran into Jayden THE MEDAL OF HONOR MONUMENT IN SAUGUS located across the street from the S/Sgt. Arthur F. DeFranzo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2346 at 190 C. Main St., Saugus, will be the site of a special ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday (June 10) honoring Army S/Sgt. Arthur F. DeFranzo, who was killed in action 80 years ago Monday in an act of bravery that earned him a Medal of Honor posthumously. (Saugus Advocate photo by Mark E. Vogler) Vaquerano, who was wearing a very colorful red, white and blue stole. He told me that his mother had it made special for him, incorporating the Puerto Rican flag, the Dominican flag and the Salvadorian flag – part of his immigrant heritage. Next, I bumped into Nathaniel Chadwick, who was wearing one of those prestigious gold-colored stoles, with the word “Honor” inscribed on it. He was one of the 17 members of the class’s National Honor Society. There was a lady in a blue windbreaker who looked like his mom standing near him. Yes, Tonya Chadwick was a damned proud mom. The Saugus native herself was a member of the Saugus High Class of 1990, and she went on to graduate from Salem State College. Tonya told me that her daughter Cherilyn Chadwick just graduated from Merrimack College. The proud mom told me that Cherilyn graduated as a Presidential scholar in the Honors Program with Summa Cum Laude honors and was looking forward to working on her Master’s degree. It’s clear that Tonya’s son is headed for scholastic success after Saugus High, too. He was the 14th-top-ranked student in this year’s graduating class. Once again, I had the pleasure of spending some time mingling and talking with Saugus High graduates about their futures. These are just a few of the stories that I gleaned from milling around Christie Serino Jr. Memorial Stadium. Saugus honoring its Medal of Honor recipient Monday It will be 80 years on Monday (June 10) that 25-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Arthur Frederick DeFranzo from Saugus made the ultimate sacrifice on a battlefield near Vaubadon, France. He was hit by enemy fire while rescuing a fellow soldier. Instead of tending to his own wounds, he rushed back out into combat after bringing the soldier to safety and led an attack on the enemy. DeFranzo destroyed an enemy machine gun after being hit several more times. Despite being struck repeatedly by enemy fire, DeFranzo continued to fight until he finally succumbed to serious wounds. The Medal of Honor – the U.S. military’s highest decoration – was bestowed upon him posthumously seven months after he gave his life courageously for the sake of fellow soldiers while serving his country. At 10 a.m. Monday, the S/Sgt. Arthur F. DeFranzo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2346 and the DeFranzo family will honor the service and memory of the M c the memor fr a the public is in special c school k t and longtime r about the her F a c or the lif of S or r who ha MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Arthur F. DeFranzo, 25, of Saugus, received the Medal of Honor posthumously for a selfless act of courage to protect his fellow soldiers on a battlefield near Vaubadon, France, 80 years ago Monday. (Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate) since its inception more than 150 years ago. If you consider yourself a patriotic and proud American, it’s worth reading the Medal of Honor Citation: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, on 10 June 1944, near Vaubadon, France. As scouts were advancing across an open field, the enemy suddenly opened fire with several machineguns and hit 1 of the men. S/Sgt. DeFranzo courageously moved out in the open to the aid of the wounded scout and was himself wounded but brought the man to safety. Refusing aid, S/Sgt. DeFranzo reentered the open field and led the advance upon the enemy. There were always at least 2 machineguns bringing unrelenting fire upon him, but S/Sgt. DeFranzo kept going forward, firing into the enemy and 1 by 1 the enemy emplacements became silent. While advancing he was again wounded, but continued on until he was within 100 yards of the enemy position and even as he fell, he kept firing his rifle and waving his men forward. When his company came up behind him, S/Sgt. DeFranzo, despite his many severe wounds, suddenly raised himself and once more moved forward in the lead of his men until he was again hit by enemy fire. In a final gesture of inTHE SOUNDS | SEE PAGE 17

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