Friends and families filled the Milton High School fieldhouse Sunday to congratulate the school’s 142nd graduating class of nearly 250 students.The mood was celebratory, and speaker after speaker encouraged the seniors to focus their attention on what lay ahead and the path they each will take during the coming years. However, they also urged the students to enjoy an evening.
“There are very few times in life you get to have a day off,” School Committee Chairman Glenn Pavlicek said. “So, take today off and enjoy it.”
Co-valedictorians Laura Hess and Rebecca Liberman told their classmates to celebrate the day, pave their own paths in life, and to always remain open to change.
“We have every reason to be proud,” Hess said.
Liberman, after cracking a few jokes about old milk, wearing hats, and the morning announcements turned her speech more serious. She explained that despite criticism she received about her decision to study music after high school, she was accepted to and will attend Berklee College in the fall.
“Do not follow stereotypes or let others say what you should do," she said with a big smile. "Lay your own destiny and lay it with bricks of happiness"
Class President Derek Curley garnered a big applause when he pointed out that the class of 2012 was the first graduating class to have seen all of Boston’s professional sports teams in league championships.
However, it was Principal Joe Arangio who pulled off the most laughs from students and parents alike as he read through his 22 tips for life - some funny, others serious, but all with a little tongue and cheek.
A few included: “Don’t worry so much about appearances - a mule dressed in a tuxedo or a ballgown is still a mule;” “Be nice to nerds because chances are you will end up working for one;” “Always be diplomatic - when your parents ask you how long you plan on living with them - lie;” and “Recycle, vote, pay your taxes, and replace your parents gas when you use the car.”
And with that, the presentation of diplomas began and each red or white clad student, always bearing a smile, walked across the stage and shook hands with the principal.
And with Arangio’s final declaration of their graduation, the hundreds of students threw red and white caps into the air, stood and cheered on chairs, and hugged one another in joy to the band’s rendition of James D. Ployhar’s “Fanfare and Recessional.”
Natalie Feulner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.