Graduation: At Foran, painted memories will remain

Foran High School Salutatorian Alexandra Corsi painted a picture of a painted rock during her graduation speech Friday night under sunny skies at her high school.

She spoke of the rock that sits outside Foran High, a huge boulder of a rock that has become a symbol, almost a mascot, for Foran students over the years.

She was in eighth grade when she saw it for the first time, and it was painted like a pig, alluding to the swine flu epidemic of 2009.

“As middle schoolers, we were partially amused and partially astonished that they could do something as audacious and rebellious as paint the rock,” Alexandra said. “At the same time, we all longed for the reckless bravery that came with being a high school student.”

They learned that painting the rock was tradition, and that the rock changed like the seasons.

“The rock has changed with us and yet has managed to stay the same,” she said.

She recalled when Jonathan Law students snuck over and painted the rock in their own colors. “All of Foran would collectively become angry when Law covered it in their trademark black and gold; they had trespassed on our territory and it was our duty to reclaim our turf,” she said.

Alexandra pointed out that on graduation day the rock was painted for Ken Walker, a beloved teacher and coach who died last year. While the rock will undoubtedly be painted over again, the name “Walker” will always be there, as will all the other memories hidden under layers of paint.

She said the rock will stay as a constant.

“Wherever we go, whoever we become, the rock will always be here, settled in its place under the tree, doused with innumerable coatings of paint,” Alexandra said.

Alexandra, daughter of Christine and Al Corsi, placed number two in a class of 248 students. She will attend Ohio University this fall and plans on majoring in journalism at the prestigious Scripps College of Communications.

She is planning a career in the television or newspaper industry, with an emphasis on politics.

Class Valedictorian Hamsa Ganapathi, number one in her class, talked about keys when she addressed her class on graduation day.

“This may sound crazy, but I truly believe that keys have been very important parts of our high school journey,” Hamsa said.

She talked about key combinations for lockers, piano keys, musical keys, the keystone species in biology, computer keys and car keys.

“Once we earned the keys to cars, we earned the key to something else as well: freedom,” she said. “This freedom, was in turn, a key that opened doors to new opportunities.

“You see, keys have been there all along in everything we do, moving us through various stages in our lives, from elementary school, to middle school, through high school, leading up to this day: June 21, 2013, the day of our high school graduation,” Hamsa continued.

She ended with a quote:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on, you will be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey.”

Hamsa is the daughter of Usha and Narasimhan Ganapathi.

She received a perfect score in the math section of the SAT and the chemistry SAT subject test, an impressive accomplishment, according to Foran Guidance Director Susan Unger.

“Scoring the perfect score on the math test is truly unique. Only 10,052 out of 1,530,128 score it,” Unger said. “As for the chemistry subject test, only 5% who take the test score an 800 on the exam. Pretty impressive odds.”

Hamsa will major in chemistry at the University of Connecticut.

She is planning on a career in oncology, and wants to research the causes of cancer and work toward new methods of treating it.