Graduates, as you depart, I invite you to jump in the air and give a high five to the painted hand above the exit door. Symbolically, the painted hand returns the high five and welcomes you to our Alumni Association.
It is always difficult to say good-bye. Our emotions began to surface last evening as we shared the final few minutes of the Celebration Dinner smiling, laughing, and appreciating who you are and where you have come from as we viewed your baby pictures juxtaposed with a recent photo. This is always a classic moment in Shore history. It is a time when we are all present for the moment – focused and engaged in support, empathy, and love for one another based on years of shared experiences and memories.
I leave you with just one guiding thought based on the final moments of last evening. You will be judged on many fronts in your future academic, professional, and personal lives. Let it be said of you, that you are recognized most for the manner in which you demonstrate respect, empathy, and genuine affection for others. Go out of your way daily to brighten someone’s life with a compliment, an unexpected gift, a sincere, handwritten thank-you note, an empathetic expression, or simply a hug that shows you care and that the other person matters to you. In the end, we are who others perceive us to be, and those who achieve the greatest success are those who are able to lift the spirits, soothe the soul, and bring joy to others by acknowledging their goodness and importance to us.
I will personally miss each and every one of you, and I know I speak for the entire faculty and staff when I say that I hope you will keep Shore in your hearts and plan to return to visit us often. We care about you.
Our ceremony concludes with the recessional following the benediction. In a symbolic “moving up” gesture - accepting the privileges and responsibilities of becoming our seniors, our recessional is led by next year’s ninth grade, the Class of 2015, followed by the faculty and staff. As these students exit, they become our seniors as our graduates become alumni and alumnae.