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By Brittni Henderson
On a quiet Tuesday night in June, the next batch of seniors crossed the stage, turned their tassels, and became alumni of the Smithfield High School Class of 2016. In the newly air conditioned gymnasium at Bryant University, these young adults, adorned in their green and gold best, were showered with love and support from faculty, staff, and family—many of whom settled for standing-room only.
The 49th graduating class is bright and ambitious: 71 percent are off to a four-year college, 18 percent are attending a two-year school; 7 percent are going to work; and 4 percent will wear their nation’s uniform in the armed forces. Principal Daniel Kelley assured them that whatever path they choose, they all are capable of success. Their impact on SHS made the school a better place, he said.
Supt. Robert O’Brien explained the history of the cap and gown, noting that the word commencement means “new beginning.” For these students, the minute they step outside after receiving their diplomas, a new life will begin.
Valedictorian Gabriella Lasorsa’s speech touched upon a similar sentiment, and encouraged her classmates to step out of the familiarity and comfort of SHS to connect, be a part of something bigger than themselves.
The Class of 2016’s class gift is to renovate a room in the school that will be used for meetings, small presentations, or solo work sessions. It will include charging stations for computers and phones, and televisions that will be streaming news stations throughout the day.