At a ceremony Friday night at Rockland Community College, the Clarkstown High School North class of 2012 graduated 349 seniors.
The ceremony included some musical performances. Graduating senior Melissa Hollander sang the national anthem while fellow graduating senior Victoria Parkinson signed it. Graduating senior Molly Klein sang The Beatles’ “In My Life” backed by 15 seniors signing along.
Speakers included Principal Harry Leonardatos, Salutatorian Alina Dvorovenko and Valedictorian Robert Duggan, who talked to his fellow graduates about working through challenges.
“You should all continue to be aware of your personal challenges, as well as develop a greater awareness for how to overcome these obstacles. Just because you are aware of problems does not give you the justification for succumbing to them,” he said. “Don’t settle in life. No one changed the world by simply acknowledging a problem. You have to act on what you know about the world and what you know about yourself.”
He also spoke to the class about the importance of keeping relationships going.
“Don’t live trying to please all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Don’t flock to those who can give you short term pleasure at the expense of those who can help your longterm happiness,” he said. “Don’t blow away the important relationships in life. You will regret it. The people that really know you will help you overcome your obstacles like other people cannot.”
After graduation, Roshin Cherian, who will attend SUNY Albany in the fall to study computer science, said he’ll miss his friends from North, although he also noted he won’t miss the buildings.
“I moved here the middle of my freshman year from Bahrain, which is in the Middle East,” Cherian said. “Everyone was very nice when I moved here.”
John Latanzio, who will attend RCC in the fall to study criminal justice, said one his more memorable days at North came during his freshman year when a bad snowstorm hit and the school had a blackout.
“There’s was no power, it was freezing and we were there like three hours before they sent us home,” he said. “Plus, before school I shoveled out the driveway and then when I got home I had to do it again. It was one of my worst days.”
Still, Latanzio said he’ll miss his friends from school, as well as the teachers.
“We had a lot of great teachers here,” he said.