The following was provided by Judy Bass, communications specialist for .
Class President Richard Jacob’s whimsical address delivered entirely in verse and somber words of advice about practicality, reality and inspiration from Superintendent Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon were among the memorable highlights of Minuteman High School’s annual Awards, Scholarships and Commencement Ceremonies at Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Friday, June 8, 2012.
One hundred forty-three students graduated.
In addition to the awarding of diplomas, dozens of academic and vocational honors and scholarships were presented.
Addressing the graduating class, Bouquillon spoke of a diploma as not just a piece of paper or accomplishment, but a commitment to lifelong learning. Citing the graduates’ newly-minted employability skills acquired at Minuteman, he also spoke of the all-important trait of inner confidence to the parents, family members and the Minuteman Class of 2012.
“My seniors,” Bouquillon said, “You may not feel it, or notice it in you right now, but trust me, you have it! I know how you got it! This inner confidence has come to you from following your interests, finding what you do well, and becoming skilled at it. Sure this has happened differently for each of you, but I see the common thread of inner confidence in all of you … and it will strengthen and support your pursuit of happiness.
“As you imagine happiness,” Bouquillon said, “remember it comes from doing what you love and know you do well. This has given you each an inner confidence that you can, and will draw from in difficult times, and will enrich you in the most wonderful ways. Steve Jobs said, ‘Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice … have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.’”
Valedictorian James Cardillo of Peabody spoke eloquently of all the challenges that he and his classmates faced at Minuteman over their four years there, challenges such as the long bus ride to and from Lexington, technical and academic homework, SkillsUSA competitions, co-op jobs, sports practices, all of which ultimately made them better prepared to take on the daunting world of work or college.
“All of you sitting before me have been given the tools to succeed,” Cardillo said. “We learned from experts. It is your choice whether you use them or not.
“Minuteman has provided us with the opportunity to achieve our dreams,” he said appreciatively, “and I know we are all grateful to have been given that opportunity.”
For sparkling originality and wit, Class President Richard Jacob of Medford won hands down. His entire oration was delivered in the form of a poem that summed up his and his peers’ unforgettable experiences at Minuteman.
These lines are just one fragment of Jacob’s epic:
“If it’s connecting a circuit, coloring hair, or building a go-cart
To being able to dissect and label the different parts of a heart,
If there are a few dead cars in the lot Automotive will easily jumpstart them
Traditional high school kids beware because WE WILL OUTSMART THEM!!!”
For Salutatorian Daniel Dangora of Medford, the feeling of camaraderie shared by his classmates was an abiding memory.
“Some time ago, we all made the decision of a lifetime: leave the comfort of all our hometown friends to attend one of the most interesting schools there is," he said. "Four years, many great friendships and plenty of coffee trips later, we sit here, a family, waiting for our diplomas. A family is the best word I could come up with to describe our relationship with each other. We are a small social unit, made up of individuals who have both very common and very different interests. At times we can be dysfunctional, argue with each other, and say things that are a little over the top, but at the end of the day, we wouldn't trade each other for any other family.”
Perhaps it was Cardillo, the valedictorian, who encapsulated the bittersweet emotion of Graduation Day the best.
“Unfortunately, we cannot stay in this moment forever; our lives must go on," he said. "No matter where we end up, whether that be a head chef at a five-star restaurant, a master plumber, an HVAC technician, an electrical engineer, or master electrician, we will always remember our time at Minuteman.”