An audience of proud family members and friends filled North Shore High School’s athletic field for commencement exercises last Friday morning. There was an air of anticipation and promise, and then the first notes of “Pomp and Circumstance” could be heard as the class of 2018 came into view, ready to embrace a new beginning as their time at high school came to an end.
As the graduates strode toward the field from the school’s courtyard, their maroon and white robes fluttered in the breeze. Some of the students wearing multiple honor cords were unaware of the colorful strands entangling at their waists.
Principal Albert Cousins described the graduating class as “persistent pioneers, engaged explorers and unbounded optimists.” And while he said he admired the seniors’ hard work, he emphasized preserving one’s health and well-being. “It’s important to keep things in perspective, and in stressful situations, remember to breathe deeply,” Cousins said.
Senior class salutatorian Perry Kleemann praised his fellow graduates’ “tenacious pursuit for understanding,” and encouraged the seniors never to forget their time at North Shore. “Hold on to the laughs with your friends, nurture the ideals from your teachers and loved ones, and rehash these memories,” Kleemann said, “as they are forever a part of us and our future.”
Valedictorian Hally Bello recounted an anecdote of a lemonade stand and the notorious business dealings of George Parker, an American con man, to demonstrate the importance of using one’s education to help society function. “Find your passion,” Bello said, “and do the work.”
This was the first graduating class Dr. Peter Giarrizzo addressed as the superintendent of North Shore Schools. He used one of his favorite songs: 10,000 Maniacs’ “These Are Days,” to frame his remarks.
“‘These are days you’ll remember,’ he said. “The song is about the euphoria of falling in love with being alive, and in celebration and renewal, we learn how a simple moment in time can help us in life.”
Giarrizzo concluded his remarks by saying, “Chase the ideas that make your heart race, and leave the world better than you found it.”
Outgoing Board of Education President Toni Labbate commended the graduates for growing into “well-rounded, thoughtful contributors” over the past four years. She said that this quality of character prepared them to make a difference in the future.
“Reach beyond expectations, reject stagnation, and use your skills to collaborate, innovate, and solve the problems of our world,” Labbate said. “Take risks, challenge yourselves, and lead with conviction and compassion.”