KINGSTON – Diplomas in hand, 241 graduates of the South Kingstown High School Class of 2013 proceeded across the stage Monday at the Ryan Center, prepared to move on to a new phase of life be it college, the military or a career.
Principal Bob McCarthy began the commencement proceedings by acknowledging the passing of three South Kingstown High School teachers in the past year: Missy Stark, Justin Briggs and Jim Provensal. A moment of silence was held in their honor.
As the speeches began, speakers acknowledged that in today’s world of technology and social media, they would probably lose the graduates’ attention, but would nevertheless try to impart some final wisdom upon them.
“It is common knowledge and personal experience that you will remember very little, if anything, from today’s speeches, so my bar is set very low,” said Kevin Jackson, a member of the South Kingstown School Committee during his speech. “Nonetheless I will endeavor.”
Jackson said he took cue from the graduates’ generation and took to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for inspiration from his speech.
He delivered several quotes and anecdotes to the graduates but drew his own conclusions.
“In conclusion there are very few things you can truly call your own that can never be taken from you, education is one of those,” Jackson said. “Use this success as inspiration for future goals, you are part of the South Kingstown High School Class of 2013 and always will be. And that diploma can never be taken from you.”
After a performance by the high school band of “Hey Rebels, Here Comes the Sun,” under the direction of Donald Smith, Class Advisor Jerilyn DeLuca-Hawk delivered her speech and began by saying she would keep her remarks brief, aware that the graduates were eager to receive their diplomas and celebrate with friends and family.
“Plus, I’ve had more than half of you in class and I’m well aware of your limited attention spans and your selective hearing,” she said.
Instead of teaching the graduates life lessons, DeLuca-Hawk shared five lessons she learned from the Class of 2013.
“Lesson number one, don’t let people’s words and opinions guide and form your own opinions. Find out yourself what a person or group is really like,” she said.
She referred to comments she heard when she took on the role as class advisor to what she called a sometimes “less than perfect class.”
“Overall, I’ve gotten to know a lively, social, creative, compassionate group of young people,” DeLuca-Hawk said. “And if I had let other people’s opinions sway me, I would have completely missed out on that wonderful opportunity.
For the rest of this story and full picture spread, pick up Friday's issue of the Narragansett Times.