“We have the ability to enhance the world…..”—Valedictorian Kasey Zaleski of Avon to the Class of 2018
Jubilation characterized the day when 212 members of the Class of 2018 at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton graduated on June 12, bidding a final farewell to the high school they have called home for the past four years and eagerly looking forward to careers, college or the military.
Under bright skies but buffeted by a brisk wind, the soon-to-be graduates listened to speeches from adults as well as from their peers, many of whom recounted cherished remembrances of Blue Hills, dispensed words of wisdom, and gratefully thanked their families and teachers for standing by them while they evolved into capable, mature young adults who are ready to embark upon the next exciting chapter of their lives.
Blue Hills District School Committee Chair Marybeth Nearen of Randolph exhorted the grads not to forget the place they came from. “Come back and be involved in any way you can,” she urged them, citing the examples of some of the District School Committee members who attended the ceremony and are proud Blue Hills alumni – Eric C. Erskine ‘81 of Braintree and Aidan G. Maguire, Jr. ‘79 of Canton. (Other members of the District School Committee are also alumni of the school, including Francis J. Fistori ’75 of Avon and Michael C. Franzosa ’10 of Holbrook.) District School Committee members Kevin L. Connolly of Norwood, Thomas R. Polito, Jr. of Dedham and Charles W. Flahive of Westwood were in attendance.
Valedictorian Kasey Zaleski of Avon buoyantly told her classmates that “this is the day that we have been looking forward to because of one word – accomplishment.” She continued, “We are the newest graduating class of Blue Hills Regional and we have the ability to enhance the world as the creators of the Eiffel Tower, [Vincent] Van Gogh and [Thomas] Edison have done before us.”
Class President Karimah Land of Randolph whimsically quoted from Dr. Seuss in her address, then offered some tips for success: Be yourself, failure is not final, dare to be extraordinary. She concluded with another quip from the famed children’s book author: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
The class gift was presented by Class Treasurer Andrew Bryant of Canton to Superintendent James P. Quaglia. It is a scholarship called the Class of 2018 Rossetti Scholarship in honor of Blue Hills Principal Jill Rossetti. The sum of $1,600 will be divided into four $400 scholarships, to be given to an exceptional female student each year for the next four years.
The recipients must demonstrate the qualities that Principal Rossetti embodies, such as kindness, responsibility, leadership, respect, spirit, and be industrious. In addition, the recipients of the Rossetti Scholarship must be involved in at least two extracurricular activities and have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average.
The occasion’s guest speaker was Senator Walter F. Timilty. “I could not be more proud of each and every one of you,” he said to the Class of 2018. “Whatever comes next, I truly believe the sky is the limit.” He then referred to an illustrious Blue Hills graduate, NASA Astronaut Scott D, Tingle of Randolph, a member of the Class of 1983 who recently concluded his first mission in space – a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station.
“He was never afraid to dream big,” Senator Timilty noted. ‘The lessons exemplified by Captain Tingle’s story will serve you well.”
In Principal Rossetti’s absence, Supt. Quaglia delivered a heartfelt address which she would have given herself. The speech reflected upon the last four momentous years that the Class of 2018 spent at Blue Hills, years which coincided with Ms. Rossetti’s first four years as the school’s principal.
“You are amazing, resilient, focused, resourceful, dedicated and unique. Don’t ever lose the eagerness for learning and growth that made you so successful at Blue Hills.”
The speech concluded with these words from author Maya Angelou advising everyone to single-mindedly follow their passion: “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”