Even the rain couldn’t stop the enthusiasm felt at Thursday evening for the Class of 2011’s graduation. The event, which was moved indoors due to weather conditions, had a packed house including the senior class, families, Mayor Michael Pavia, Bobby Valentine, and the Stamford .
“I’m a proud mayor and this is a proud city,” Pavia said to the class. “The most important discovery is who you are, the gifts you bring and where your passion lies.”
Class president Sean Ormond congratulated his classmates and looked toward a bright future.
“We made it!” he said. “We’re wearing these caps and gowns, and we must have done something to deserve it. We’re the businessmen, parents and teachers of tomorrow.”
Cheering from his peers broke Ormond’s speech intermittently.
Joshua Starr, in one of his final public appearances as Stamford Public Schools' superintendent, gave the class succinct advice. “Work hard and you will be successful,” he said.
Jerry Pia, vice president of the Board of Education, looked practically at the graduates’ future asking them to not just succeed, but to do something with meaning.
“You are the guiding force as we travel farther into the 21st century,” he said. “How will you do it? How will you solve the world’s problems?”
He asked the class to think about where they will be at their 20-year class reunion and if they will be able to say with confidence that they worked hard to make their world a better place. The class repeated after Pia shouting, “We did it!”
Principal Donna Valentine, in her first graduation at the high school, introduced teachers Jeremy White and Tiffany Cozza to pass out the diplomas. Amidst the cheering, senior Morgan Gulliver stood out and received a standing ovation from her classmates as she accepted her diploma. Gulliver began treatment for lymphoma cancer a few weeks ago.
“She’s a really smart and really nice girl, we’re all wishing the best for her,” Ormond said after the ceremony.
Ormond and his fellow graduates appear to be wishing the best for each other. In his speech, Ormond optimistically said, “the world needs a few more Black Knights.”