PAWTUCKET â€” What could best be described as â€śjoyful noiseâ€ť 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 â€śPomp and Circumstanceâ€ť during the processional to a heartfelt sing-along to the alternate rock song â€śWe are Young,â€ť the class of 2012 did not go out quietly at the schoolâ€™s 84th graduation, but more with a Tigerâ€™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 â€śfor the world.â€ť 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 â€śthe world is full of ambitious failures.â€ť
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 â€śas one groupâ€ť that had been there for each other in good times and bad.
Moran also told the students the importance of being comfortable in oneâ€™s own skin as they pursue their future careers, saying, â€śconfidence breeds happiness and happiness usually results in success.â€ť
The City Council president concluded with a â€śspecial shout outâ€ť to his daughter, telling the young woman, â€śIâ€™m extremely proud of you, I love you very much, and I know you will make a difference in this world.â€ť
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 â€śa fresh start, a new beginning,â€ť from whatever roles they had taken on or reputations they had earned, but said, â€śWe will all have a piece of William E. Tolman High School in our hearts.â€ť
Valedictorian Kristina Browning told classmates that while it was important to consider the support of family, friends and loved ones, â€śletâ€™s not forget the most influential person, the reason you are all sitting in front of me today, you.â€ť She added, â€śCongratulations because you are the reason you are graduating today.â€ť
Browning said that the graduating class had been â€śunited by an overwhelming sense of pride and we have shown everyone what it is to be a Tolman Tiger.â€ť She added, â€śTolman has made us determined, tenacious and proud. These qualities will forever be carried with us and applied to all of our future endeavors.â€ť
Additionally, senior Samantha Menard delivered an original poem that she penned for what she called â€śthe Class of One Twoâ€ť prior to the presentation of diplomas.