After six years of attending classes, submitting homework assignments and building lifelong friendships, the seniors at North High School took their final collective bow on June 21 during the school’s 56th annual commencement ceremony.
The ceremony, which took place outdoors for the first time in three years, was a celebration of the nearly 200 graduates’ accomplishments in front of family, friends, teachers, administrators and Board of Education members.
In valedictorian Michelle Chen’s address, which she recited from memory, she implored her classmates to make the most of each day. “Once we graduate high school we will face increasingly difficult challenges that we must endure,” she said. “If we become preoccupied with deadlines we will miss the tiny, vibrant, amusing and intriguing experiences that provide the sweet filling to the hollow core of our lives.”
North’s salutatorian, Angelica Caluori, was the first student speaker to address the crowd of hundreds and reflected on the class of 2013’s vast accomplishments.
“We should thank each of our teachers,” she said, “as well as our friends and families for pushing us well past the limited boundaries we otherwise may have mistakenly established.”
School board Trustee Frank Chiachiere said that each generation has its own challenges to face that will shape the years to come. “You decide where you want to go,” he told the graduating class. “You decide where you want this community, this state and this nation to go. It’s not an easy job that we’re tasking you with today, but it’s one that each of you is up to thanks to the people who are here today to honor you.”
Student Council President Christina Cinnamo said that the class of 2013 has the tools to face the challenges headed their way. “True success may not manifest itself at first sight,” she said. “With this in mind I challenge you to define your own level of success and live up to your own measures with passion and commitment.”
Raishme Singh, North’s senior class president, discussed the changes that will soon occur in the graduates’ lives. “After six years, North has become our home,” she said. “We are finally used to the title ‘student’ and now it’s time to leave.”
Principal Cliff Odell told the graduates that they have set a mark of excellence at North for future generations. “The class of 2013 has personally warmed my heart with inspiring generosity and kindness,” he said. “You’ve dazzled me with your talents and you’ve provided me with memories for a lifetime.”