VERO BEACH – An audience of 5,000 strong saw 590 graduating Vero Beach High School seniors get their high school diplomas today at the Citrus Bowl.
Past and present American icons were quoted throughout the speeches given by some of the Class of 2011’s luminaries on this picturesque June morning.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us,'” said 2011 VBHS Class President Pat Morgan. “Today is monumental-graduation is not merely the end of your school days, it is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life.”
“We have a great graduating class, with kids going to Duke, Wake Forrest, Boston College, M.I.T., Columbia, Cornell, William and Mary, Virginia, and the list goes on,” Morgan added. “We worked 13 hard years to reach today and no one can take that away from us.”
Vero Beach High School’s graduating class counted 1790 honors graduates, 88 advanced placement graduates, seven National Merit finalists, and five students who graduated with an Associates of Arts Degree.
“You can take great pride in knowing you have successfully completed the requirements set forth by your parents, your teachers, your friends, and even the great state of Florida,” said VBHS Principal Eric Seymour to the class of 2011. “This morning celebrates the completion of one chapter of your young lives, but in actuality, it is just the beginning of another. You’ve reached your goal of getting your high school diploma, but please don’t stop there.”
Valedictorian Nicole Gagnon, who graduated with a 4.81 weighted grade point average and a National Merritt Scholar winner, will attend Duke University in the fall. Salutatorian Maia Tinder will attend William and Mary in the fall, and she graduated with a weighted 4.78 grade point average.
“I reminisce about Friday night football games, where I worked concessions with the math team, hurrahed with the cheerleaders, jammed with the band, and shouted from the stands as I rooted on the Vero Beach High School football team,” Gagnon said. “But most of all, I remember the happiness of my senior year.”
Salutatorian Maia Tinder will attend William and Mary in the fall, and she graduated with a weighted 4.78 grade point average.
“Learn things you couldn’t possibly have learned in the classroom, and do things you have never done before and don’t be afraid to fail,” Tinder urged to her classmates. “Now is the time we make the decisions which will forge the rest of our lives.”
Some of Morgan’s final words as class president took a page from Apple CEO Steve Jobbs.
“Steve Jobs once said in the 2005 commencement speech at Stanford (University), ‘You can’t connect the dots going forwards, you can only connect them looking back,'” said Morgan. “You have to trust that the dots will connect in your future, you have to trust in something-your God, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
“Do not spend too much time worrying about what your future will be like, you’ll miss out on your present.”