Law grads reminded to say 'thank you' as they help change the world

Members of the 2018 graduating class at Jonathan Law High School were told Wednesday night to use their powers to change the world, and to remember to say thank you along the way.

GraceAnne Piselli, class salutatorian who will study biology at Northeastern University, told her fellow graduates that they will each follow unique paths as they set out in life: Some paths will be more difficult than others. But she said each of those paths will lead them to where they are meant to be, to places where they can help improve the world.

“Our generation is surely an agent of change,” GraceAnn said during graduation. “We have grown up in an age where we face weekly tragedies, tumultuous leaders, and growing social and political polarization.

“After experiencing these issues for so long, our peers have gathered the courage to stand up and make changes to improve our world. We have the same potential as them. As young adults, we must take advantage of our power; we must harness our passions, and use them to cause major world shifts.”

Oreoluwatomiwa (Ore) Opayemi, class valedictorian who will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, reminded the graduates to say thank you as they travel those paths toward their futures.

She said that the phrase “thank you” has become so commonplace that sometimes people forget that there is real meaning behind the words.

“In this grand production we call life, have we taken the time to acknowledge and thank those who helped us get here?” she asked. “One motto I live by is that no one ever gets where they are by themselves.”

She took the opportunity to thank the family and school staff that helped her get where she is today, making a special point of thanking math teacher Bryan Frank, who went out of his way one day to explain a complex calculus term and then to make sure she understood how it could be useful knowledge in her everyday life.

Ore also told her fellow graduates to be sure to be the kind of people others want to thank.

“We must try to show kindness and compassion to those we interact with,” she said. “We must be willing to give more of ourselves so others can benefit; this could occur through volunteering our time at the local food bank, or just sitting with a lonely person at lunch.

“At the time in our lives when we feel contented, we must remember those who aren’t and try to improve their lives. As Steve Maraboli said, ‘It is only with true love and compassion that we can begin to mend what is broken in the world. It is these two blessed things that can begin to heal all broken hearts’.”

Principal Fran Thompson talked about the goodness in the members of the Class of 2018, who have donated a total of 16,400 volunteer community service hours during their high school years. He told them that their kindness and goodness will impact others. He told them that “good will prevail.”

During the ceremony, Thompson gave a bouquet of yellow roses to School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser, who will retire July 31, thanking her for all she has done for the Milford schools; Feser thanked the community and the students for letting her be a part of Milford’s educational system.

Ending Wednesday night’s ceremony, Class President Jordan Beck told the graduating class that survival is mankind’s most basic art form.

“Not just survival, but the very manner in which we adapt to circumstances,” Jordan said. “With any obstacle, each of us will react with a unique response. It is through this response that individuality is born.”