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DHS Commencement: “This is just the beginning”

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The 190 members of Dedham High School’s Class of 2013 earned diplomas at Veterans Memorial Field at Stone Park on a serenely beautiful Saturday afternoon as a throng of family members, friends and well-wishers observed and cheered.

Under the direction of Mr. Jeff Bolduc, the school’s band played Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance as the graduates strode to their seats.  Soon after, Principal Ron McCarthy gave initial remarks in which he urged the graduates to heed the advice President John F. Kennedy gave at the commencement exercises of American University in June, 1963, calling for peace with the Soviet Union during the depths of the Cold War.  McCarthy said, “As you leave the halls of Dedham High School and say your good-byes… keep in mind Kennedy’s message: ‘Our problems are man-made; therefore, they can be solved by man.’ ”  If you run into an issue at school, in the military or at your place of employment, I want you to know that you can solve it.  You are the master of your own fate.  I have the confidence to say that you are all capable of keeping the peace.  Our individual problems are sometimes thrust upon us, yet others are made by ourselves.  It is up to us to solve those problems on our own.  Take advice from the experts who have been there before and have made good choices.”

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In an emotional speech, Senior Class President Darla Saycocie summed up the four years she and her classmates shared.  She began by noting her  worries about speaking in front of a crowd, as she planned what to say.  “That’s when it hit me: why should I be nervous?  We all grew up together.  We all know the same paths and shortcuts, the ins and outs and every nook and corner of this town.  It’s a small town, but it’s our town.  So the Class of 2013 would like to welcome the Town of Dedham to our graduation…  High school is hard, but we did it.  I cannot believe that it’s over.  But as the old cliché would say, this is just the beginning.”

Then Superintendent of Schools June Doe addressed the class.  “On behalf of all of our principals, our teachers and our support staff, I bring you truly the warmest, best wishes for your future success.  We are so proud today of each of you and your achievement.”  She added, “Graduates, as you leave us this afternoon, remember to set your goals high.  Always keep your parents and the pride and hope that they have in each of you in the forefront of your minds, no matter where you are.  Strive to become the next generation of outstanding leaders.  You are needed.”

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State Senator Mike Rush served as Keynote Speaker, telling the senior class members they are well prepared for the future.  “Graduates of 2013, today is an extremely important day.  As a former history teacher, I know that this was a significant day in 1789 when James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, and a troubling day in 1861 when Tennessee seceeded from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War…  But most important, today, June 8, 2013 is an absolutely awesome day here in Dedham, Massachusetts.  And it is an awesome day because each and every one of you is receiving a diploma that tells the world that you are a graduate of Dedham High School.”

Valedictorian Jamie Carty spoke next, drawing on a theme from the field she plans to pursue in college, theatre.  “We’ve all heard the quote from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’  I always hated that quote.  I thought it was silly to say that people simply go through life in a series of planned events, and that we’re all just actors playing the parts that are pre-determined for us…  But viewing Dedham High School, our home for these past four years, as a stage sort of makes sense to me now.  Walking into Dedham High four years ago, we were all cast in a play.  A script was written for us to learn, and we were all to play the parts of students in this grand production of graduation in 2013.  We knew that we would have to memorize our lines.  In other words, we’d have to ingrain into our minds our complicated physics formulas, our monotonous dates in history and our Sisyphean vocabulary definitions that we thought we’d never use.  This is the part that nobody actually wanted to do but we did it anyway, knowing that this grand production of graduation would depend on it…  What we didn’t know was that the lessons we’ve learned, the relationships we’ve built and the memories we’ve formed during this rehearsal process and off-stage will be what will live with us forever.”     

Salutatorian Sarah Beaudoin emphasized a similar theme, focusing on the interpersonal ties the class members established with one another.  “We’ve all learned a lot of important information.  Most of what we learned we will use, other things maybe not as much.  But over the past four years, I think we’ve learned something that all of us will use.  Some of us have known each other for a very short time – a year or two, or maybe even less.  And some of us have known each other for our entire lives…  No matter how long we’ve known each other, we’ve all created different bonds and different relationships with one another.  Some of these relationships will last forever.  Some won’t last after we leave here today, or go off to college.  However, we will always know, even after we do leave, that we will still have those bonds, those memories, those friendships, and they won’t just go away.”

At the ceremony’s conclusion, the new graduates followed the school’s long tradition by forming a large circle at the center of the field, then collectively tossing their caps into the air in one last act of joyful solidarity.

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Written by shiretown99

June 9, 2013 at 1:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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