Speakers at the Joseph A. Foran High School graduation Thursday evening in Milford had a hard time saying goodbye.
"I'm very bad at saying goodbye, so I'll just say 'See you soon!,' '' valedictorian Nichole Geoffrion told her classmates.
Salutatorian Megan Holton said she is looking forward to seeing her friends this summer, but also at the Class of 2009's reunions throughout the years, so goodbyes weren't called for. "I expect to see many successful, accomplished, happy people,'' she said.
Class president Juliana Mazza also avoided the "G' word in her speech. "I'm going to say that I'll be seeing you around, and let's make more memories.''
Assistant Supt. of Schools R. Michael Cummings, the former Foran High principal, is another person with a lot of memories at the sprawling cement high school. A graduate himself, Cummings watched his own son move the tassel on his mortarboard from the left to the right at the end of the commencement exercises at the Vito DeVito Field.
Cummings presented gold medals to Geoffrion and to Holton, noting that both young women were leaders and academic standouts in a very competitive class, and that both have already done much to improve the lives of others. Geoffrion organized a fundraising dinner to help a local family with financial and medical problems.
She also organized her Foran High classmates to respond when two Jonathan Law High students were killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2007, and a third died later of his injuries. "She showed compassion to our sister high school, getting students to wear black and gold, Jonathan Law's colors,'' Cummings said. "She also served as the liasion from Foran High to the Board of Education, answering the board's and the superintendent's questions with poise and confidence.''
Holton was injured during a charity fundraising race, but kept up her high grades in advanced placement courses and a busy schedule of activities, Cummings said. "It was evident that she was in considerable pain, but she never complained.''
Holton noted that she has had the opportunity to visit Prague, Budapest and the Andes Mountains, and to witness first-hand the inauguration of Barack Obama through Foran High. "But many of us have done remarkable, amazing things -- gotten a song on iTunes, been in the tai kwon do Olympics, or made a prom dress out of duct tape.
"Despite the moving walls and the lack of windows, most of us have learned important things here in the past four years,'' the salutatorian said. "But success is a lot more than having a lot of money or being famous. As my grandmother said, if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.''
Geoffrion recalled that she had also been the speaker when the class graduated from eighth grade at East Shore Middle School, and said she is still teased about a corny joke she told then. The valedictorian urged her class of 248 to meet as many new people as possible, and to really listen to what other people have to say.
The class filed onto the field, boys in blue and girls in red, to cheers and snapping camera shutters. Taylor Mascia held up a large sign with "We love you Connor'' on it, for his brother. Every time a member of the band graduated a trumpet blast or a cymbal crash greeted the name.
And Principal John Barile drew the loudest applause, at the start of the ceremony, when he said: "Yes, it is sunny. Let's cheer for that.''
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