Sara Macaluso | Op/Ed Editor
Shenendehowa said goodbye to the class of 2011 on Friday June 24th at the Saratoga Performing Arts center. Approximately 750 graduating seniors marched into SPAC to the traditional graduation song, “Pomp and Circumstance,” played beautifully by the High School Wind Ensemble. The Star Spangled Banner was brilliantly performed by Shen’s Mostly A-Capella group.
High School Principal, Mr. Donald Flynt, said inspiring and encouraging words to the class of 2011 regarding their futures, and pasts. He gave note to doing what is right and good when he told the story of a high school graduation where a student gave a speech with no clothes on, and the one man who had a picture or video, and was in desperate need of money, refused to sell anything to the press.
Senior class president, Bailey Dineen’s speech noted the personal greatness that exists in everyone. She made special note to particular fellow graduates whom she believed had special qualities that go unnoticed. Her speech highlighted the capabilities of everyone in the class to succeed and go places in their lives. Dineen’s speech became emotional at its closing as she said goodbye and thanked everyone for being a part of her life and wished best of luck to everyone.
Charles McGuffey, salutatorian, spoke about everyone being different and going off in to the world, pursuing different hopes and dreams. He included in his speech the famous movie quote from Forest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” He compared the large student body and graduating class at Shen to a box of chocolates, all different, and special in their own way.
Valedictorian, Felix Sun, gave a touching, insightful, and comical speech. He offered statistics of 20 out of the 750 students becoming millionaires; actually 21, but he couldn‘t count, as he put it. He compared the students of the class of 2011 to colorful ribbons stretching beautifully through the halls and campus. He noted how each student was only one ribbon, even he himself was only one ribbon, but every ribbon was magnificent in its own way.
Both Doctor Robinson, Superintendent, and Mrs. Janet Grey, President of the Board of Education, gave words of wisdom and inspiration to the graduating class. Speaking of all they have accomplished in the past while at Shen, and all they will accomplish in their futures. They encouraged graduates to take a path that is right for them, and informed them that life will seem to pass by quickly.
Following all 750 students receiving their diplomas, the A-Capella group came back and performed the song “This is the Moment.” Then the senior class treasurer, Margaret Belensz, and senior class secretary, Taylor Rao, presented the class gift. This gift however was not of material items like the gifts typically are. Instead the senior class reached out to help the less fortunate. They donated money to a school who lost everything in a recent tornado, and to an organization which gave books and supplies to students and schools in need.
The ceremony ended with a speech by Senior class vice president, Inge Chen. She began her speech by reminding graduates that their stories began as freshmen in Shen. And whether they knew it or not, they had made some life altering decisions during their high school years. She stated that Shenendehowa helped shape the people they have all become, but now their story needed to continue. She concluded with a quote from songwriter, Natasha Bedingfield, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”