NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Just over 100 seniors said farewell to faculty and friends on Wednesday at North Salem High School’s 50th annual commencement exercises. The ceremony was held at Caramoor in Katonah on a hot and sunny evening, the first official day of summer 2012.
In addition to the bestowing of awards and diplomas, three speakers -- Salutatorian Tyler Pircio, Valedictorian Sean Wang and Principal Patricia Cyganovich -- delivered varied but consistently encouraging words of advice.
Pircio summed up the high school experience by saying, “We grew out of the stage of cliques and found the ability to accept each other for who we are. Being an individual became easier.” He concluded by urging his classmates to “be conscious of the past and the future, but ensure that now is what’s important.”
Wang said that as a child, every need and want is an immediate one. When you reach the teen years, procrastination is the byword. “As adults, we must find the middle ground.” Ask yourself, “What can I do to make my life fulfilling?” Maybe you only live once, said Wang, but “there are numberless possibilities that only appear once.” He suggested that his classmates make choices in consideration of the larger context of life.
“We enter college with a blank slate,” he added. “We’re free to reshape ourselves, shed our old skin and create the people we want to be. Seize opportunities as they appear today, for there is no guarantee you can seize them tomorrow.”
In her graduation address, Cyganovich quoted words of advice from many well-known individuals: Franklin D. Roosevelt, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on;” Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do;” and actor Morgan Freeman, “You quit, you fail.”
Citations came from faculty and students as well: “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time,” and “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”