Yorktown Grads Look to the Future


(Saturday, June 21, 2008 8:02 AM EDT)

Speakers at Yorktown High School's graduation at DAR Constitution Hall on June 19 commended members of the Class of 2008 on the choices they'd made during their high school careers and urged them to embrace their individuality and continue making smart decisions.

“We are full of raw enthusiasm, like a kid in a candy store, but this time we have to spend our parents' money wisely and not just on sugar,” said representative valedictorian speaker Noah Aldonas. “The world is waiting for us to get in the driver's seat. We just need to put the keys in the ignition.”

But before going forward on their journey through life, Aldonas emphasized the importance of having the right attitude.

He spoke about a man he had met recently - Mark, an Iraq War veteran who lost his legs in combat but has maintained a very optimistic outlook on life.

Aldonas said Mark reminded him of the lyrics from a Rod Stewart song: “All you have to do is make the best out of the bad and just laugh it off.”

“We should never let life tear us down,” Aldonas said. “If you can't change your circumstances, you can change your attitude.”

Class president Andrew Brown also advised his fellow graduates to be proactive in creating their identities and life paths.

“Apathy is a choice,” he said. “We have to make decisions. Next year, we have to figure out who we are, not who we are supposed to be.”

Although a lot of the ceremony's focus was on the future of Yorktown's 373 graduates, principal Raymond Pasi made sure to praise the class for four years of accomplishments, including having a “cooperative spirit and sincere interest in each other.”

On the academic side, he was proud to announce that the class had collectively been awarded $5.38 million in scholarship money.

Superintendent Robert Smith lauded the Yorktown graduates for being so community-minded and included that their generation is much more involved in volunteer work than today's adults.

“I hope your community spirit continues,” he said.

Pasi said that, because each member of the Class of 2008 has so many positive attributes and qualities, he is confident they will be successful in the next stage of their lives.

“You are ready for the next step,” he said. “Recognize your unique gifts and use them. When you leave Yorktown, improve your corner of the world.”

Mitch Napolitano, Leah Patterson and Andy Leonard were among the Yorktown High School students participating in commencement exercises on June 19 at DAR Constitution Hall.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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