Cloudy skies and a brief period of light rain were not enough to stop North Shore High School’s class of 2017 from celebrating and taking the next step. Family members and friends filled the high school gymnasium last Friday when the commencement moved indoors because of weather concerns. Smiles, tears of joy and applause for this year’s senior class brightened the afternoon.
Principal Albert Cousins led the ceremony, thanking parents and families for providing students with all they needed to succeed. He told the seniors that, just like this year’s commencement, life will throw many “unexpected curves” at them. So he said, it’s important for students to learn how to adjust and adapt to handle whatever life presents.
Toni Labbate, president of the North Shore School District Board of Education, also thanked parents for giving their children a “solid foundation.” “Today is a day where you can take a moment to reflect, look back and feel proud of everything that they have accomplished with your love and support,” she told parents.
Superintendent Dr. Ed Melnick ended his career in the North Shore district with a final speech. He is retiring. Like many of the graduates, he said that he would use the ceremony as a time to reflect on his time in the district.
“Insistently look for all the possibilities of every situation you encounter, believe that solutions exist and don’t focus on what’s wrong with the situation,” Melnick said. “Look at what is right as well and realize that change is possible.”
In her speech, Valedictorian Katie Feehan encouraged her classmates to do what they love and be themselves. “These may seem obvious to you, as we have all matured and learned similar lessons,” she said, “but reiteration of these ideas is key.”
Feehan reminded her classmates that, regardless of how far they get in life, the graduates should always keep loved ones close. “That is what really helps us get to where we want to be,” she said. She concluded by telling the seniors to “go and do great things.”
As the graduates hugged their parents and family members after the ceremony, they gathered in the school one more time for photos before they went their separate ways.