CSD grads chal­lenged to be con­fi­dent

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VICTORIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School class of 2016 cel­e­brated the cul­mi­na­tion of their high school jour­ney with a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day, May 25.

161 grad­u­ates re­ceived their diplo­mas as they pre­pare to move into the next chap­ter of their lives, be it col­lege, mil­i­tary ser­vice, tech­ni­cal school or straight on to the work­force.

CAM­BRIDGE — Cam­bridgeSouth Dorch­ester High School class of 2016 cel­e­brated the cul­mi­na­tion of their high school jour­ney with a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day, May 25.

161 grad­u­ates re­ceived their diplo­mas as they pre­pare to move into the next chap­ter of their lives, be it col­lege, mil­i­tary ser­vice, tech­ni­cal school or straight on to the work­force.

This class of grad­u­ates earned a to­tal of $3,120,500 in schol­ar­ships among them. In the past six years, C-SDHS grad­u­ates have earned $15,492,285 in schol­ar­ship awards, said Prin­ci­pal David Bromwell.

Nine grad­u­ates were hon­ored for fin­ish­ing in the top five per­cent of their class in aca­demics: Paige Bleyer, Alexan­dra Colman, Abby Doty, Madi­son For­rest, James Geleta, Pa­trick Geleta, Mea­gan Owens, and Ash­ley Wil­ley.

Grad­u­ate Emory Wongus was rec­og­nized, to spir­ited cheers from the crowd, for twelve straight years of per­fect at­ten­dance. Bromwell pointed out that this achieve­ment amounts to 2,149 straight school days.

The sen­ti­ment through­out the night was one that en­cour­aged the grad­u­ates to work hard, be­lieve in them­selves, and take time to en­joy life in the present.

Salu­ta­to­rian Mea­gan Owens be­gan her ad­dress with an in­ter­est­ing fact: the Class of 2016 grad­u­ates are the last to be born into the Mil­lenial gen­er­a­tion. “Mil­lenials were born into a world heav­ily re­liant on tech­nol­ogy, and now, so­cial me­dia. Some may say that tech­nol­ogy has in­creased the pace of life and con­stantly en­cour­aged users to be some­where other than the present,” said Owens.

She gave sev­eral per­sonal ac­counts of times when she was too busy look­ing forward, whether it be to­ward high school, driv­ing priv­i­leges, or up­per­class­men sta­tus, and as she looks back, she wishes she had spent more time in the mo­ment.

“Be­cause of this in­stan­ta­neous way of life, en­joyed by mem­bers of the Mil­lenial gen­er­a­tion, the past four years have flown by. While we ex­pe­ri­enced many good times in high school, I know we all wish we could go back and slow things down

“My chal­lenge to the class of 2016 is this: we still have many, many years ahead of us to cre­ate mem­o­ries do­ing what makes each of us happy. In the time af­ter you grad­u­ate, no mat­ter what path you choose, make the best of it and en­joy ev­ery pos­si­ble mo­ment,” she said.

In his vale­dic­tory ad­dress, Pa­trick Geleta talked about his per­sonal tri­umph over in­cred­i­ble ob­sta­cles to en­cour­age his class­mates to work their hard­est to reach their ul­ti­mate po­ten­tial.

“We have the op­por­tu­nity to prove that we can all meet our high­est po­ten­tial. No mat­ter what we do, we will achieve and we will suc­ceed as the elite class of 2016,” he said.

Geleta shared his story of barely sur­viv­ing at birth due to hav­ing been born eleven weeks pre­ma­ture and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing de­vel­op­men­tal de­lays. He said he was a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent when he be­gan his aca­demic ca­reer, but through his de­ter­mi­na­tion and help from dedicated teach­ers, he over­came the hard­ship.

“I was not born to be the vale­dic­to­rian,” said Geleta. “I started first grade at South Dorch­ester School. There, I was fi­nally able to live up to my full po­ten­tial. I was sur­rounded by this pos­i­tive sphere of teach­ers and men­tors who re­ally set me on the path I’m lead­ing to­day.”

Geleta chal­lenged his class­mates to re­mem­ber never to doubt their abil­i­ties and ca­pac­ity to suc­ceed on what­ever path they choose to fol­low.

Class Pres­i­dent Ash­ley Pete in­tro­duced Ash­ley Sim­mons, 2011 C-SDHS grad­u­ate and 2015 Tow­son Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate, as the com­mence­ment speaker.

Sim­mons is cur­rently a stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Bal­ti­more School of Law, and will in­tern this sum­mer for the Hon­or­able Judge Barry G. Wil­liams of Bal­ti­more City Cir­cuit Court. Wil­liams is pre­sid­ing over the tri­als sur­round­ing the Freddie Gray case.

The mes­sage Sim­mons brought to the class of 2016 was a list of four­teen life lessons she wishes she had known be­fore she grad­u­ated from C-SDHS, some prac­ti­cal and some more philo­soph­i­cal.

She echoed the mes­sages of both salu­ta­to­rian and vale­dic­to­rian: cut down on screen time to en­joy the mo­ment you are liv­ing in and hard work beats tal­ent when tal­ent does not work.

“Be the best ver­sion of you at all times, and make the most of ev­ery sit­u­a­tion. When you get frus­trated, and it seems like every­thing is against you, see the pos­i­tive in ev­ery sin­gle sit­u­a­tion. Life is not al­ways go­ing to be fair. You have the make the most of it,” Sim­mons said.

In light of mak­ing the best of time, she told grad­u­ates to go out of their com­fort zone and let them­selves be tested.

“No one in my fam­ily had grad­u­ated col­lege, and it scared me, and made me won­der if that’s where I be­longed,” she said. “You should strive to be chal­lenged. Fig­ure out who you are.”

Sim­mons also shared a story of per­sonal hard­ship with her health as an ex­am­ple of how the grad­u­ates should choose to see hard times not as a dis­ad­van­tage, but as an ob­sta­cle you strive to over­come.

Other lessons she wished for the grad­u­ates to know in­cluded be­ing kind, al­low­ing one­self to be vul­ner­a­ble, be­ing aware that every­one has a story, al­ways giv­ing one-hun­dred per­cent in every­thing that you do, and do­ing what is best for you.

“Ev­ery day, ev­ery sin­gle day, ask your­self if what you’re do­ing to­day will get you closer to where you want to be to­mor­row,” said Sim­mons.

Prin­ci­pal Bromwell made sure to take time to thank the par­ents, fac­ulty, sup­port staff, and oth­ers who helped to make grad­u­a­tion pos­si­ble for the class of 2016.

He closed the cer­e­mony, say­ing, “State your goals and go out to achieve them. Be bet­ter than me, be bet­ter than fac­ulty that taught you, be bet­ter than your par­ents.”

PHO­TOS BY VICTORIA WIN­GATE

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School hon­ored the grad­u­at­ing class of 2016 in a cer­e­mony held Wed­nes­day, May 25.

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester se­nior Nathaniel Lowe walks the stage and re­ceives his diploma at grad­u­a­tion Wed­nes­day, May 25.

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