For the 30 graduates of the W-H Community Evening School, the commencement ceremonies Thursday, June 2 were akin to a victory lap after a marathon.
A large audience of family, friends and fellow CES students filled the Dr. John F. McEwan Performing Arts Center to help celebrate that victory.
Co-Director of the program William V. Glynn, in his welcoming speech, congratulated the 27 graduates who were able to attend the ceremony for the hard work they put in to succeed. He also took the opportunity to offer some final words of advice.
“And you are forced to listen to me — one last time,” he said irreverently before concluding that the graduates are assuming an important place in society.
“I need you out there,” Glynn said. “The money-lenders, the authoritarians, the know-nothings — they’re out there and they’re in it to win it. I need you out there and the community needs you out there, the nation needs you out there and, I’m not afraid to say it, this planet needs you out there. Get out there.”
Before Co-Director Dianne Nicol announced guests graduates had asked to award their diplomas, Glynn advised the Class of 2016 to not freak out as they face the future, to have faith in themselves, to listen, abide, not to “talk smack” about others on social media and give into hate, to keep reading and continue working hard to achieve their dreams.
“Believe in yourself — you can do it,” he said. “You made it here today after any number of ridiculous or dreadfully serious roadblocks, mistakes, issues, failings, but you made it.”
He said their success shows a willingness to take responsibility for themselves.
Calm, cool responses in difficult circumstances can positively infect those around you and that “amazingly beautiful, amazingly good, amazingly true things tend to happen when people don’t give in to losing their heads,” Glynn said.
He also advised the graduates to take chances and travel to far away lands — “and I’m not talking about the Cape or Rhode Island when I say that,” he stressed — eat freaky foods, make friends with different kinds of people and avoid being overly impressed with wealth, power or celebrity.
“Be the same you when speaking with Barack from D.C. as you would with Chip, the pizza dude, from Tri-Town,” Glynn said.
School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner noted Glynn was a hard act to follow, but offered their own advice to the graduates.
“Everything [Glynn] just said to you, I know came from his heart,” Hayes said. “The path you took to get here tonight had a few bumps in the road … but you made it, that’s the whole thing.”
Hayes urged the graduates to continue the commitment to graduate as they face the future outside of school.
“That’s the key to success as long as you never, ever give up,” he said. “Keep searching for the answers to problems.”
Gilbert-Whitner spoke about decisions, noting a recent study calculated that adults make about 35,000 decisions a day — 226.7 daily decisions about food alone.
“Some decisions seem to have little impact on us, while others may change the course of our lives,” Gilbert-Whitner said. “The decision you made to enroll in W-H Community Evening School was one of those life-changing decisions.”
She said that thoughtful and deliberate choice will serve the graduates well throughout their entire lives and urged them to keep making those good decisions.
Graduates are: Madison M. Beguerie, Robert E. Cavicchi, Kimberly J. Chalmers, Dominic A. Colarusso, Nicholas L. Consalvi, James W. Cullity, Nicholas J. Dearden, Michael W. Eaves, Jaime Escalera Torres, Robert P. Fader, Brandon A. Jenness, Jacob M. Joyce, Ryan J. Kelly, Jesse S. Knight, Allison M. Leitch, Matthew C. Linn, Kyle J. Lydon, Charlie J. McAdam, Joseph M. McDonald, Jared A. Moussalli, Nicholas D. Murphy, Joshua C. O’Brien, Brandon A. Paulo, Marita J. Roblee, Nicole D. Sanchez and Stephanie A. Scammell.
Not present, but having earned diplomas were: Edward J. George, Tadg F. Jenness and Breanna V. Trabulsie.