Cambridge Rindge and Latin School seniors tossed their caps at end of their commencement ceremony Thursday. Photo by Brock Parker.
They came together when there class was moved to a separate campus freshman year. They came together after the Boston Marathon bombings. And Thursday night, the Cambridge Rindge and Latin Class of 2013 came together one last time to graduate.
Some danced across the stage to get their diploma, and others cheered as their friends’ names were called in the commencement ceremony at the high school’s field house.
A class of almost 450 seniors graduated from the high school Thursday, and Principal Damon Smith said more than three-fourths of them have been accepted into college.
The seniors didn’t get their without some bumps along the way, however.
This year’s class was two months away from finishing school when 2011 Cambridge Rindge and Latin School alumnus Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 200 people.
Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Young said Thursday the links from the bombing to the Cambridge community are well known, and while the high school community shouldn't forget, it also must carry on.
“Like those first responders in the marathon, all of us must go toward the places where we are needed, not away from them,” Young said.
Student body president Shameen Akhtar said that the tragedy struck too close to home, and the senior class responded.
“We came together with an even bigger force and stuck together representing our school and its values,” Akhtar said.
It wasn’t the first time the class had been asked to handle an out-of-the-ordinary challenge.
Valedictorian Kevin Hao Xiong addresses his classmates. When they entered the high school in 2009, Valedictorian Kevin Hao Xiong said the class of 2013 had to attend classes in a separate freshman campus because the high school was being renovated.
But Xiong said that in the end, being in the makeshift campus was a positive experience for him and his classmates.