EASTCHESTER, N.Y. - After four years, $20,000 in donations to worthy causes, 368 Advanced Placement classes and 825 college acceptances, the class of 2011 graduated from Eastchester High School Friday.
"We had bad weather for your Senior Pep Rally, but it turned out to be one of the best pep rallies ever, we had hail, wind and driving rain for your prom but it turned out to be a wonderful evening, but we are not going to let a weather forecast dampen our spirits today," said principal Dr. Jeff Capuano.
The white folding chairs set up in neat rows remained empty as family, friends, staff, dignitaries and graduates squeezed into the gym.
Class President Patrick Cardiello asked his classmates to look back to the"school that helped create you," and then to look forward. "The members of the class of 2011 will leave this place today and go out into the world and change it," he said.
Eastchester Government President Patrick McManus quoted Dickens saying that high school is truly the best of times and the worst of times.
Class salutatorian Catharine Maintner spoke of the lessons she learned in high school such as humility, how to stay up all night studying and that high school on television is not like the real thing. "The number one thing I learned is how perfect it feels to see a smile on someone's face and knowing you were the one who put it there," she said.
Valedictorian Rob Mariani received thunderous applause from his classmates as he took the stage.
Mariani spoke of how he and his classmates have spent a lot of time during their senior year thinking about their goals, writing them on college applications, and sharing them with classmates, family and district officials as they prepared to leave Eastchester High School. Mariani encouraged his classmates to follow those goals and work hard to achieve them.
"Stay positive, flexible and open minded, and always maintain a connection with the people you cherish. Seek the guidance and advice of those you respect, but maintain independence of thought, and make your own decisions," Mariani said. "If it takes you longer than those around you to reach your destination, don't despair. We don't all drive at the same speed."
Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita urged the graduates to show loyalty to family and friends and to never forget where you came from.
"Wherever you end up let them know that Eastchester is in the house," he told the students.
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