The West Orange High School class of 2012 turned the tassels on their caps from right to left Thursday evening, June 21, and with that put the finishing touch on their high school careers.
This year’s graduating seniors gathered as a class at Codey Arena for the last time yesterday. Under the proud eyes and accolades of family members, friends and teachers, each of the 529 seniors walked slowly, one by one, up to receive their high school diplomas as their names were announced.
While addressing her classmates, the valedictorian Karen Ku asked a fundamental question as they leave the sheltered high school lifestyle: “So how do we do it? How do we really start living?”
Her answer was universal: “We relinquish the comfort and security of the familiar for the unknown,” she said. However, she added a modern take on it. “We adopt a new mantra, exchanging the ‘I can’ for an all too familiar phrase: YOLO. ... It is a phrase you have heard in the high school almost every day, but for those who haven’t -- mom -- it means, You Only Live Once.
“ ... Partying like there is no tomorrow: that is not living up to YOLO. YOLO is being someone; someone people will remember. As Mae West said, ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.’”
It was a mantra that echoed throughout the class’ time at WOHS. This crop featured 82 students named to the National Honor Society; 33 students named to the Science Honor Society, including the salutatorian Tobi Gabriella Rudoltz; and 39 students named to the Mathematics Honor Society.
The full list of Student Awards can be found .
And the full list of graduating seniors can be found .
The evening featured many speakers, including Board of Education member Michelle Casalino and WOHS Principal Arthur Alloggiamento, the latter will be retiring this year.
And now that the students will be entering a new world, Superintendent Anthony Cavanna gave them a few rules of advice including:
• “Be a yardstick of quality: some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
• “Life is not fair, so get used to it.”
• “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
• “Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now; they got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are.”
And with all of the excitement and anticipation of what is to come, salutatorian Rudoltz struck a final chord when she reminded her classmates that, “Tonight we gain not only freedom, but responsibility.”