The parking lots were full, the bleachers and field were lined with family and friends and the Class of 2012 donned purple and white caps and gowns as the seniors said goodbye to high school, reflecting on their history with their classmates.
Valedictorian started by telling her classmates, "You only live once." She discussed the meaning of time before concluding with "If you only live once, you might as well do it right" before wishing her classmates success in overcoming "life's challenges."
, the senior class president, said, "The effect that I had on your lives is nothing compared to the effect you had on mine." He shared a number of memories and anecdotes about fellow students and the staff. "I will always remember this class for the way they made me feel...We will always be able to look back on our years at North Branford High School and be proud that this group is the reason we are who we are."
commended the class for the impact the students have had on the school, including taking part in new programs like and engineering classes, being a key part of projects including the , courtyard renovations and the .
"This class of 2012 has impacted the culture at North Branford High School like no other class," he said. "You have demonstrated the ability to be successful yet remain humble, eager for experiences and look to new challenges."
Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker underscored Stoeffler's message, noting the numerous volunteer hours, community outreach projects and good deeds he had witnessed first-hand. He noted that this is the first class he has seen through their high school careers, being the superintendent since they were freshmen.
"You leave here tonight as 2012 North Branford High School graduates," he said. "Be proud of what you leave behind as you move forward. Continue to reach out and lend a helping hand and offer a kind word to someone in need. Demonstrate perseverance in tough times and let your integrity guide you through life in decisions you make...Congratulations Class of 2012. You have made a difference in my life."
Board of Education Chairwoman Marcey Onofrio called the graduates "a special class to me," saying she has watched many of the students grow up over the years. She offered the following advices to the graduates:
"Wherever you may find yourself and whatever challenge you have chosen to follow and explore, hold true to what shaped your yesterdays, acknowledge and appreciate all that you are today and dare to be all that you can be tomorrow," said Onofrio.
She then asked the students to recall 5th grade when they were "dared to say no" and then Onofrio said she had a dare for the graduates:
"Dare to be all that you can be, dare to chase your chosen career, dare to excel, dare to go the extra mile, dare to show compassion, dare to make your mark in the world, dare to have empathy, dare to be the best you can be and then do it," said Onofrio. "Congratulations to the Class of 2012."
The class of 2012 was presented with diplomas (photo gallery of graduates to follow) before the caps and silly string flew through the air in celebration.
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More on NBHS's Class of 2012