Punctuality, authenticity, seizing opportunity and perserverance. These were some of the characteristics the Rosemont High School class of 2012 used to describe a succesful path when asked what advice they'd impart to their underclassmen.
“If a door of opportunity is open, take it, and if a door of opportunity is closed, open it,” said Ryan Jones-Adams, 18. “Once you open a door, you'll chose the path you want to go down.”
Nearly 300 seniors—with thousands of supportive family members and friends filling the stadium stands—took to the stage Tuesday evening at Rosemont High, in what was the school's sixth graduating class. Despite the gusty winds and emotional speakers, jubilation and a sense of accomplishment filled the air.
“Don't cry because it's over—smile because it happened,” Principal Leise Martinez said toward the end of her speech.
Prior to the commencement ceremony, students and staff gathered in the gym to go over last-minute details. Students hugged one another, cheered for each other and celebrated the last moments of their high school career. About to start jobs and careers, head off to college, join the armed forces or take some time to figure it out, some seniors shared their wisdom on making it through high school.
“I would tell them to be on time, because I was tardy like every day,” said Olivia Ashli Hopkins, 18.
And don't let personality conflicts be your detriment, another student said. “Don't fail a class because you're mad at a teacher—that won't work at all,” said Matthew Johnson, 19.
Of course, hard work goes a long way too. “Sit there and pay attention; there's no other way to pass the class,” said Gary Earnest Morris, 18. “Just be you.”
Alona Bachinsky, 17, recommended having a plan for post-high school years. Her friend, 18-year-old Ferris Chu, said college is always attainable.
“Don't give up, keep trying and they can get into any college they want,” Chu said.
Sabrina Vue, 18, said while it's important to have fun, you have to know the time and place.
“Enjoy life, but be serious at the same time,” Vue said.
And when it comes to “fitting in,” just being yourself goes a long way, she added.
“If you want to be special, be yourself,” Vue said. “You don't have to be cool to fit in.”
Others had more simple advice.
“Do their work and do not ditch,” said Tiffany Lyric O'Flaherty Odor McDonald said.
And lastly, “Don't procrastinate,” said Austin Smith, 18.