BURRILLVILLE â€” The 158 Burrillville High School seniors who earned diplomas at Friday's 111th Commencement celebrated achievements, overcame obstacles and adapted to change on their four-year high school journeys.
The Class of 2012 may also have been Burrillville High School's most diverse.
"We all became friends despite our differences and that diversity seemed to bring us together," said Senior Class President Nathan A. Satish, an exchange student who noted the graduating class's unique membership.
"I urge my fellow students not to let your unique talents go to waste," Satish said in his address to the graduates. "Take it somewhere the world hasn't seen yet."
There was loud applause as family members and friends filled the June Rockwell Levy Rink to watch the graduates, wearing robes in the traditional Broncos colors of blue and white, file into the rink to the Burrillville High School Band's rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance."
"Today you celebrate your success and I commend your individual achievements," School Superintendent Frank Pallotta said in his speech to the graduates. "Be wise in your decision-making, balance your choices and meet your obstacles with wisdom."
Pallotta quoted Dale Carnegie, saying "The person who goes furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare."
"Dare to chase your chosen career. Dare to excel. Dare to go the extra mile. And dare to have empathy," he told the graduates.
School Committee Chairman Raymond Trinque kept his speech particularly short and simple, quoting George Bernard Shaw. "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.â€ť
In her speech, Class of 2012 Valedictorian Lindsey M. Rogers noted the significance of the date of June 8.
"It is, for starters, the 159th day of the year. It also happens to be World Brain Tumor Awareness Day, the day that the movie Prometheus premieres, and is the 35th birthday of Kanye West," she said. "But most importantly, it is the day that the best class to ever walk the halls of Burrillville High School, the Class of 2012, will graduate and embark on a new chapter of their lives.
â€śPerhaps you are bursting with happiness at the thought that you will never have to walk these halls again, or perhaps you are a little teary-eyed as you think longingly about the place where you spent the last four years of your life. Whatever category you fall into, I think we can all agree that our experience at Burrillville High School has taught us a lot. Sure, we learned about the quadratic formula, when the Cold War began, and how to write a perfect essay, but I think we should reflect on what we have really learned throughout our four years here.â€ť
Rogers listed the three "lessons" and the moral of those lessons that she and her fellow classmates learned at Burrillville High School.
"Lesson number one: procrastination works wonders," she said. "Take our Homecoming floats, for example. Did anyone see that masterpiece that came rolling down the streets of Harrisville? It was hard to believe that most of it was completed the night before by a group of very dedicated seniors. And if you saw how amazing our spring play was, youâ€™ll be quite surprised to hear that we were begging people to fill in parts a week and a half before the show."
"Many of you parents out there probably have reprimanded your child about the dangers of waiting until the last minute to get something done, and may even believe that it is â€śirresponsible," she added. "But in reality, nothing can be further from the truth. By procrastinating, we are only simply taking the time to enjoy every free moment in our lives. Working all the time, as Iâ€™m sure many of you know, induces stress. Just as it is important to finish everything that needs to be done on time, it is also important to stop and smell the roses, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life."
The second lesson, she said, is there is not one water fountain in the entire school that "shoots out red Gatorade."
"Iâ€™ll be the first to shamefully admit that I was one of those freshmen who fell prey to the seniorsâ€™ jokes," she said. "But after about one glorious hour of wondering where this magical fountain may be, I realized that, although the Harrisville town water contains many impurities, Gatorade is most likely not one of them. The moral of this lesson is one that I have already experienced in my life so far, and that is there are many unkind people in the world outside of Burrillville, who may lie to you or take advantage of you in order to get ahead in their own lives or to better their own self-esteem. Therefore, my first tidbit of advice this evening to you seniors is to be strong. Stick to your morals, hold your head up high, and donâ€™t let anyone get in the way of your path to success."
In speaking to her fellow graduates, Rogers noted the journey wasnt an easy one.
"Well, we did it. It wasnâ€™t easy. Some of us sprinted through it without slowing down, others jogged their way through, some had to walk and even others stopped and took multiply breaks, but we all got to the finish line.â€ť