(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
On Friday, seniors from the Academy of the Pacific Rim became the Hyde Park-based charter school’s 10th graduating class and prepared to move on — every single one of them — to college in the fall.The 38 students, who make up the largest graduating class so far for the 15-year-old school, will go to colleges and universities as close as Chestnut Hill and as far away as Los Angeles. Collectively they have been awarded $3.5 million in financial assistance.
In addressing the students during the commencement ceremony in Faneuil Hall’s second-floor Great Hall, Principal Jenne C. Grant encouraged them to take their passions, ideals and their acceptance of the differences of others with them as they move into the next phase of their lives. Grant quoted Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous exhortation to simply be oneself.
Speaking before the ceremony, students expressed excitement and a touch of nerves as they prepared to say goodbye to classmates from the small, tight-knit school.
“It’s like a family, basically,” said 17-year-old Meagan Badohu, a Roslindale resident who will be attending Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill in the fall. Badohu said she selected the small women’s college in part because it reminded her of the academy.
“I’m going to be crying,” Badohu said, and when she took her seat inside the Great Hall half an hour later, she was indeed wiping away tears.
Valerie Hartnett is planning to attend Hunter College in New York City to pursue two very different passions — theater and physics. She’s looking forward to a bigger city where she’ll have more opportunities to explore her admittedly esoteric interests.
“I’m a little tired of Boston, just because I’ve lived here my whole life,” said the 18-year-old Roslindale resident. She’s also looking forward to the challenge of being on her own so far away from her family.
“It’s time to spread my wings,” she said.
One of those traveling the farthest for college is Dalin Celamy, who will attend Occidental College in Los Angeles. Celamy, 18, said he’d first become interested in the liberal arts school when representatives from the college visited the academy when he was in 10th grade.
He said his counselor had advised that students should have an “aha!” feeling about the college they selected, and that’s how he felt about Occidental. Still, he confessed to a little trepidation about moving 3,000 miles from home.
“I am a bit nervous, even though I’ve been thinking about it ever since sophomore year,” the Randolph resident said. “[But] I’m ready to take in the new people and the new environment.”