When I first met you, the Class of 2012, you were children entering sixth grade, and I had left the high school to be your principal. In that fall of 2005, I was still taller than many of you, and I remember your eagerness mixed with apprehension as you began middle school.

I told you in June of 2008, at your moving up ceremony, that in high school you should choose your path. I reminded you that you should treat others with kindness because what people would remember most was the way that you made them feel.

Now, you are at the end of your time with us. It was quite a journey, and I will never forget the way you made me feel.

The one word I would use to describe you, the Class of 2012, is joyful. I was privileged to see that joy every day. You loved to dress up for different spirit days, blare music in the entrance of the school, and play ping pong in the lounge. You loved to celebrate. Whether it was in the classroom, on the field or on the court, on stage or in the pit, you brought joy to whatever you did. Here are a few of my memories.

Rachel Lugossy and her magical footwork with a soccer ball … JoJo Korsh and Lizzy Rosenberg leading everyone in Zumba at midnight at Relay for Life … Lucas Barber and Xander Landen and their amazing performance in Guys and Dolls … Robin Willis, our number one super fan, rapping at the boys’ basketball senior night … Hannah Goodman and her incredible speed on both the track and the field … and Forrest Hamilton with his endearing smile that he shared with us every day.

I felt fortunate because I was able to experience your joy. As principal, I often say that I have the best position in town because I get to spend every day with the students of Weston High School.

It is also a privilege to work with this devoted staff who is committed to empowering our students to become innovative thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and inspired learners prepared to thrive in the 21st Century. That is our pledge to all of our students.

Class of 2012, you are now adults ready to experience the world beyond this beautiful community. Some of you will stay in New England at Boston University and Wesleyan. Five of you will become UCONN Huskies. Some of you will travel to the Midwest attending the Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin. Others will go down south to Ole Miss, SCAD, Vanderbilt and Elon. A handful will go out west to Arizona and California. One will cross the ocean to St. Andrew’s in Scotland. Finally, we have a contingency that is going north of the border to attend McGill in Montreal.

As you prepare to leave us, here is my one piece of advice to you. In today’s world, unfortunately, you will come across some people who believe that the rules don’t apply to them. They blur the difference between right and wrong doing what is best for them and not thinking of anyone else. That is not who you are. Remember to live with integrity and always show your joy.

In June of 2008, I told you how proud I was of you, and, that selfishly, I didn’t have to say goodbye. I was thrilled to be able to share your high school experience.

It’s been seven years. And tonight, is bittersweet for me because it’s time.

My feelings go beyond anything that I can articulate. Suffice it to say that I will remember you. From Erin Ackerman to Arielle Zwiebach, and all of you in between, you are caring and capable, resilient, and ready, loving and loved. My hope is in you.

Dr. Palmer, Superintendent of Schools, and Mr. Schaeffer, Chairman of the Board of Education, I am honored, on behalf of the Weston High School faculty, to present to you the Class of 2012.

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