By Judy Bass
Under cloudless blue skies, 215 members of the Class of 2017 graduated from Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, their jubilant mood matching the brilliance of the day.
Many of the speakers talked of the hurdles and decisions the graduates will face in the future. Others wistfully harkened back to the Class of 2017's early days at Blue Hills. Still others offered advice to the grads on how to live their lives happily and productively.
Superintendent James P. Quaglia told the graduates not to be fazed by ending the high school chapter of their lives and starting a brand new one. He reassured them that "change is perpetual, it's normal, it's expected. Live your life without fear and apprehension and accept change as a necessary constant in your life."
After reminding the Class of 2017 to recognize the people who helped them along the way, including grandparents, and to set lofty expectations for themselves, Blue Hills District School Committee Chairman Charles W. Flahive of Westwood provided five pointers for success: "Perform an act of kindness every day; learn from failures; have a positive attitude; build strong relationships; and make good decisions."
Principal Jill M. Rossetti exhorted them to always strive for new challenges. "Don't settle for doing what is easy. Make conscious choices to do what is hard," she said. "You will expand your horizons unbelievably and grow and learn that way." She concluded her remarks by saying, "It has been a tremendous privilege for us to have you as our students and to see you become the leaders of tomorrow."
Reflecting upon the time when the members of the Class of 2017 were freshmen getting lost in the hallways of the school, Valedictorian Joyce Tri Quach of Canton said that life in general is "a learning experience, and it is okay to make mistakes." She acknowledged that she and her classmates "still have a long way to go" on their life's journey, and she wished everyone good luck.
Class President Fiona Bruce-Baiden of Randolph pointed out that "We accept that our time here has come to a bittersweet end. Poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, 'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.'"
She also spoke movingly of Blue Hills teacher and coach Dan Jordan, whose untimely passing in January 2017 was deeply felt by the entire school. Ms. Bruce-Baiden was one of his students in the Graphic Communications program. "We now have to honor him by continuing to do well and make him proud," she said.
Class Treasurer Joseph Mooney of Dedham presented the class gift, a scholarship "for the next generation of students," to Superintendent Quaglia.
Diplomas were handed out by Superintendent Quaglia and members of the District School Committee.
Members of the Blue Hills Regional District School Committee who attended in addition to Chairman Flahive included Mr. Eric C. Erskine of Braintree (Blue Hills alumnus), Mr. Aidan G. Maguire, Jr. of Canton (Blue Hills alumnus), Mr. Thomas R. Polito, Jr. of Dedham, Mr. Michael C. Franzosa of Holbrook, Mr. Kevin L. Connolly of Norwood and Mrs. Marybeth Nearen of Randolph.