With a call from senior class president Mitra Ghandeharizadeh that they’re “out of here,” the more than 700 members of the Class of 2012 moved their tassels from the left to the right, and tossed their caps in the air to mark the end of their senior year.
The focus of Tuesday’s graduation, held at Basilone Field at the high school, was on embracing the future, while also remembering the past. Ghandeharizadeh said the evening was a tribute to the people who have prepared the students for their future.
“Walking through the elementary school doors [for preschool], we began our 13-year journey that is coming to an end today,” she said. “Tonight is a tribute to everyone who held our hands.”
“This is just another chapter of our lives,” she added. “Without the guidance [of others], we wouldn’t have made it this far.”
BRHS principal Lew Ludwig encouraged students to follow three simple rules, namely to do the right things for the right reasons, always do your best and treat others the way you want to be treated.
“There is not one of you who can’t do this, and if you apply, you will be better,” he said. “Every single one of you can put in place what I’m about to suggest.”
Superintendent of Schools Michael Schilder said that students should not regret the decisions they have made, and he wanted to acknowledge the accomplishments of the students in graduating from “one of the finest high schools in the nation.”
“A good high school should prepare you to think for yourself,” he said. “If you are excited about your decision for the future, you made a good decision.”
But for chosen student speaker Michael Giallorenzo, he said that although people say high school is the best time, he believes that is a bit bleak. Instead, he said, he wants everyone to look toward the future, and look forward to what is to come.
“I loved high school,” he said. “But it is always better to think memories of the past will pale in comparison to the future.”
And, Giallorenzo said, the future is about actions.
“Nothing affects your future more than your actions,” he said. “It isn’t where you go to school or what job you have that matters, it’s what you do.”
Giallorenzo said they have all worked hard, and they owe some success to the assistance of their family, friends, counselors and peers.
With his family, Giallorenzo said, he was taught about an Irish goodbye, which involves saying goodbye to whoever is most important and then leaving quietly.
But, Giallorenzo said, he believes a proper goodbye is in order with his classmates.
“This is the end of an era,” he said. “Some people may become Nittany Lions or Scarlett Knights, but we will always be Panthers.”