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Graduation Opening Remarks

     Hello everyone, and welcome to the Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony. My name is Anthony Scarangello, you may recognize me from our recent school production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, our recent Loyola Orchestra performance, or our recent Loyola Jazz Ensemble performance. If none of that rings a bell, you might recognize me as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006*.

     I am glad to welcome you all to this exciting day that recognizes and honors the achievements of every member of the class of 2017. While today, the cameras are pointed at us, the students, this day is in many ways a celebration of those behind the lenses as well. To truly celebrate all that has been accomplished by this class, we need to remember all the hard work and support that has been put in by others in the classroom and behind the scenes. Although we are a grade that is genuinely bursting with talent, we would not be where we stand today if it were not for the faculty, our families, and of course, each other: my fellow classmates.

     Over the past four years, the faces of the faculty have changed, but their commitment to help every student succeed has not. During that time, all our teachers have been working in and outside of the classroom to help us succeed academically, and grow as students. This year, Mr. Richroath challenged me to become a more logical thinker in computer science, even when my code ran in an infinite loop and temporarily crashed the school servers. Dr. Meade has taught me how to be a stronger writer in both creative and research writing. He also taught me to not write in pencil so he doesn’t erase my answers, replace them with his own, and then take off points. There are teachers like Mr. Donacik, who has time and time again sacrificed his weekends to hold extra office hours for Physics Students, and that’s not counting the dozens of hours and miles he’s logged coaching the cross-country team. Mr. Lyness may be my Calculus teacher during the school day, but after 8th period, he is my favorite demanding director for the musical. The hard work of our faculty goes beyond those in teaching and coaching roles however. If it were not for Mr. Hanley’s fantastic guidance before during and after the college application season, I would probably still be filling out my common app today.

     And of course, it is not just us students who are in the graduating class of 2017. Ms. Lehn, our dean of academics, has been working hard over the past couple of years to place us into our favorite classes, and we all deeply appreciate it, even though, sorry dad, I couldn't take Physics, Calculus, Computer Science and Engineering all at the same time. Dr. Ross-Cully has been a fantastic principal for the past few years, but more importantly for me, a great friend to talk to in the morning during mentor period. And of course, Ms. Coop our amazing dean of students. While she may have confiscated the senior section speaker for last two weeks of school because we didn't clean up enough, her immense love for and dedication to the student body has always been clear. Thanks to all that the faculty at Loyola does on a daily basis, we have not only become better students in the classroom, but better people outside the classroom.

     While the faculty work hard at school, it is our families who have always been there at home to keep us going strong. Our Parents have always been there to show us love and support in good times and bad. Mom, dad, I seriously do not know how you find the energy to always be there for me, even when I do the stupidest things imaginable, but I know for a fact that I would not be the person I am today without all of your care. Elliot, my brother, I know that I have consistently called you the most annoying person in the world, but at the end of the day, I know you’re always there for me if I need anything whether it be some brotherly advice, a shoulder to lean on, or just a quick laugh. The love and support from our families that helps us achieve our goals goes beyond our parents and siblings. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, godparents; whenever you show up at one of our plays, concerts, or games, the love and support you demonstrate reflects off of us and back onto those around us, which helps keep our community so warm and vibrant. So, thank you to all of you for the love and support you provide outside of school to keep us going.

     Now it’s time for a few words about the amazing group of people sitting behind me, my classmates, but more importantly, my friends. The past four years with all of you have been incredible. I have countless great memories from over the past four years; everything from our dance at the winter concert, to cleaning up feathers from an exploding down pillow during our freshman retreat. I love that with my class, every morning when I walk into school, I know that something fun and exciting is going to happen. Our class is so full of positive energy, that even on days where I feel like Saint Ignatius himself is shaking his head at me, I can rest assured knowing that my classmates have something up their sleeve that is guaranteed to cheer me up. Our grade is full of talent, leadership, support, and love. I can’t imagine going to high school with any other friends, and I can’t wait to see where your talents take all of you at college and beyond.

     Now that the pool of tears around my mom’s seat has grown from a puddle to a bathtub, I think it’s about time I finish up. So, welcome and congratulations to all of you, because in different ways, you have all helped us reach where we are today. Sit back, relax, and take a few more photos, because this may be the last time in a while that we get to celebrate the hardworking, talented and loving class of 2017. Thank you.