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Tolman confers 215 diplomas

June 7, 2012

PAWTUCKET — What could best be described as “joyful noise” emanated through the ornate auditorium of the William E. Tolman High School on Wednesday night as 215 graduating seniors received their diplomas.
From the loud clapping and cheers that almost drowned out “Pomp and Circumstance” during the processional to a heartfelt sing-along to the alternate rock song “We are Young,” the class of 2012 did not go out quietly at the school’s 84th graduation, but more with a Tiger’s roar.
Tolman Principal Dennis J. Smith told the seniors that, rather than trying to be the best in the world, they should strive to be the best “for the world.” As they make their way in their careers, he also counseled the graduates to temper their desires to get ahead with self-discipline, adding that “the world is full of ambitious failures.”
School Committeewoman Nicole Nordquist offered the class of 2012 hearty congratulations from the School Committee and advised the seniors to not be afraid of failure nor of being themselves, and encouraged them to always stand up for what they believe in.
While Mayor Donald Grebien was in attendance, City Council President David Moran said he had requested to deliver the remarks on behalf of city officials that night for a special reason: his daughter, Janelle, was among the graduates.
Moran spoke of being at high school sports events and observing the family-like closeness that was apparent among members of the senior class.
He noted that they were actually graduating “as one group” that had been there for each other in good times and bad.
Moran also told the students the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin as they pursue their future careers, saying, “confidence breeds happiness and happiness usually results in success.”
The City Council president concluded with a “special shout out” to his daughter, telling the young woman, “I’m extremely proud of you, I love you very much, and I know you will make a difference in this world.”
Schools Supt. Deborah Cylke drew laughs from the audience when she pretended to take a cell phone call during her speech. She urged the graduates to find ways to stay connected to the human element in this technologically advanced world, and also urged them to pursue their personal interests and passions as they choose their career paths.
Salutatorian Tara Stanzione drew laughs and applause as she recounted some of the highlights and lowlights that she and her classmates had experienced during the past four years. She noted that graduation offers everyone “a fresh start, a new beginning,” from whatever roles they had taken on or reputations they had earned, but said, “We will all have a piece of William E. Tolman High School in our hearts.”
Valedictorian Kristina Browning told classmates that while it was important to consider the support of family, friends and loved ones, “let’s not forget the most influential person, the reason you are all sitting in front of me today, you.” She added, “Congratulations because you are the reason you are graduating today.”
Browning said that the graduating class had been “united by an overwhelming sense of pride and we have shown everyone what it is to be a Tolman Tiger.” She added, “Tolman has made us determined, tenacious and proud. These qualities will forever be carried with us and applied to all of our future endeavors.”
Additionally, senior Samantha Menard delivered an original poem that she penned for what she called “the Class of One Two” prior to the presentation of diplomas.

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