Saturday, June 11, 2011

Congrats and Godspeed, Class of 2011!

To be sure, last Friday night was special. Our annual commencement exercises for the Class of 2011 resonated as a memorable ceremony, one where there was a positive energy and flow to the evening. It was a fit conclusion to a class that has achieved so much during some of the most challenging economic times.

I am very proud of all of our student speakers. Bridget Davis, the class president for all four years, (pictured above)started the program by reflecting on the accomplishments of the class. She concluded, "we can take prided in the fact that we've excelled in the classroom, in music and the arts, and on the playing field throughout our high school career."

Salutatorian Amanda Zieselman (pictured above), battling laryngitis, worked her speech around the famed Dr. Seuss work, Oh the Places You'll Go! Her reflection on the class took a longer view (the K-12 one), as she remarked, "Bottom line is we care about each other- we've laughed together and cried together, worked together and procrastinated together... and being in school for a grand total of 2,340 days or 14,040 hours we've become a family."

Valedictorian Walter Xu (pictured below) struck a cerebral tone with his speech, painting a wonderful metaphor around our feet and the steps we must take in life's journey. He spoke of two separate journeys he had recently taken- one to a clifftop in Nice and the other to the top of the Empire State Building (using the elevator to get to the top). The one to Nice was much more satisfying, as he could reflect on where he had been. "Though the steps may be fatiguing, enjoy every moment as it is the steps that will comprise most of your life," he surmised.

Per usual, the music selections were spot-on. Hats off to graduate Allison Passanisi (pictured below) for arranging and conducting the senior choir presentation of "Footprints in the Sand." Simply outstanding! The band's rendition of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and the orchestra's presentation of "Zooster's Breakout" were equally strong.

Good luck, Class of 2011!! You have served Mansfield High School well. I wish you nothing but the absolute best!

Above: Graduate Katie MacLeod performs "Pirates of the Carri bean" with the MHS Concert Band.
Above: Grad Ellie Farrell shows her joy at being presented her diploma by Mansfield School Committee Chair Mike Trowbridge.

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