“Entering kindergarten, how many of you here took videos of your children getting on their first school bus? Then getting their drivers license, and now today, this most celebrated rite of passage?” Superintendent Janet Robinson aked these questions of the thousands who had come to witness the commencement ceremonies of the 380 plus Newtown High School seniors.
“Commencement means beginning,” Robinson said, reminding the students that of all the rites of passage, this was the one that demanded the most independence.
The Salutatory was given by Erin Begg, who reminded her fellow graduates, “It’s not where you have been, but where you are going.”
Ajit Singh, class valedictorian reminded parents that while technology has a big impact on their lives, the age old problems of “homework, hormones and relationships” are still as big a deal as ever in the lives of the high schooler.
The overriding message of Singh’s speech was to take care of the world, and all of your relationships within it. He asked students to not worry about what they don’t have but how much they can do for others.
The Commencement Address by Mr. Lee Keylock was riveting and humorous. He began by reciting the graduation speech cliches, including, “Go forth. Trust your instincts. You are the leaders of tomorrow. You carry the torch.”
While he agreed those were all true, a poem written especially for the class centered on his own hesitation, and lost opportunity in the 1980s at his own graduation, when he neglected to carry through and kiss the girl of his dreams, Amanda.
The essence of his speech was for students to “Seize the moment. Carpe Diem. YOLO.”
YOLO, or, You only live once, was the title of the poem and offered reminders of the importance of acting with courage before opportunities are lost.
On a similar note, Principal Charles Dumais suggested that thinking things through before acting was not such a bad idea, either.
In the end, the most important words of the evening were spoken by the President of the Student Government, Luke Shearin, who said, “We did it! We’re graduating!”
Congratulations to 2012 graduates of Newtown High School!