With the new Avery School building as a backdrop and the school’s new artificial turf field as a carpet, the 185 students in the Dedham High 2012 graduating class proudly accepted their diplomas Saturday afternoon.
Click here to see more photographs from the event.
The mood was casual, yet celebratory. Parents and friends filled the bleachers and more spilled onto the grass berms along the field. With each speaker, the graduates were reminded of what lies ahead and the importance of defining their own success.
Principal Ron McCarthy thanked the senior class for helping make his first year at Dedham High a good one. He said the students set a “great example for future classes” and he encouraged them to face both failures and successes with a positive attitude.
“How you will react to failure and how you will react to success is what should define you,” he said.
He also told seniors to not only relish in the joy of graduation, but to take the time to thank those who helped bring them to that day.
“Thank those people on this very special day,” he said. “Then, tomorrow when you wake up, stretch, and take a minute to think about those things that are important to you and remember that there are no limits to where you can go.”
Class President Anthony Hage spent his speech reflecting on the past four years and how the class has grown together. He encouraged his peers to never underestimate what can be done after high school and to always look forward.
“If you can make it through these past four years, you can make it through the next four, and the next four, and the next four,” he said.
John Maguire, senior vice president of corporate partnerships for the New York Giants football team, and graduate of the Dedham High Class of 1980, was the keynote speaker. Maguire gave the graduates advice he thought his late parents may have given them if asked.
“This is one of your parents’ best days because you represent 18 years of their dreams coming true,” he said. “You represent their hope of the future, and that is a responsibility.”
He also encouraged them to spend the afternoon mending friendships that may have been broken and sealing those that still exist.
“Invest in your friends," he said. “If you have a beef or a friendship that maybe you’ve lost, fix it. Tell them you’re sorry.”
Valedictorian Tara Celata and Salutatorian Jimmy Lawless finished the speeches off with a few laughs and lots of recalled memories.
After giving a sincere thanks to her family, Celata recalled championships and awards earned by the senior class. She urged her classmates to find their own definitions of success and to always work hard and remain dedicated.
“Make sure your desire to succeed is greater than your fear of failure,” she said. “Keep a positive outlook and while this may appear to be the end, fear not because this is just the beginning.”
Lawless also gave a quick shout out to his family with a “Hey Mom!” at the beginning of his speech.
He then offered a list of ways the school could improve such as poking holes in the teachers lounge so it didn’t smell, and improving cell service in the “D Wing” so students could at least sent out text messages.
And with that, the speeches were over and the graduates filed across the stage each taking a white diploma and shaking hands with McCarthy, Superintendent June Doe, and School Committee Chairwoman Mayanne Briggs.
Natalie Feulner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.