NPHS Class of 2017 urged to battle fears, challenges

NPHS Class of 2017 urged to battle fears, challenges

Dylan Phan celebrates as he’s called onstage to receive his diploma at North Providence High School’s graduation ceremony at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence last Thursday. (Breeze photos by Bill Murphy)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – True success and wealth are not measured in dollars, but instead in compassion, helping others and taking risks, many said at North Providence High School’s Class of 2017 commencement.

The class of 208 graduates was lauded for its academic, athletic and community service accomplishments by Principal Joseph Goho last Thursday, June 8, but not without the help of two of his “boys,” graduates William Nugent and John Nash, who he called up on stage to join him for their handshake – gestures that made the crowd roar after the three “dabbed,” a dance move.

Town and school officials, friends and families gathered at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence, where Goho applauded the class collectively, and pointed out five students with perfect attendance throughout their senior year: Lauren D’Amico, Haley Jasper, Alexandria Nogueras, Brendan O’Connell and Michael Osei, who had perfect attendance since middle school.

Goho quoted Pope Francis, saying compassion “is not weakness, it is fortitude. The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people,” and said it is imperative to act responsibly and with humility.

He said one of the best examples of this life motto was the Class of 2017’s valedictorian, Diana Doorley.

“Perhaps her greatest attributes are her selflessness and compassion for others,” he said, reading off remarks from Doorley’s teachers who admired her kindness and humbleness.

Doorley told her classmates that they’re living in a competitive world, but urged the graduates to support those around them and lift one another up.

“Greatness is among all of us, but it will look different on all of us,” she said, adding that NPHS alumni would make the world a better place by contributing something positive to society.

She thanked her family, teachers and Delores Paesano, class adviser, who Doorley said earned the title of “school mom.”

Doorley hailed the Class of 2017 as a talented group, skilled in art, sports, music, science, mock trial and various clubs as well as dedicated students committed to volunteering.

“Our class is diverse, and that is what makes us so special,” she said.

School Committee Chairman Anthony Marciano said the community is made up of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic group of people, who hold different values, speak different languages and practice different religions.

“These are the literal components of America,” he told hundreds who filled the rows in the auditorium.

Marciano told the graduates to cherish their true friends. His words seemed fitting, as the seniors of NPHS Chorus later sang “I’ll Be There for You,” by The Rembrandts while senior Kevin Martineau strummed along on the guitar.

Marciano said, “Young people are unquestionably our greatest resource and our deepest wells of joy.”

He advised the Class of 2017 to challenge and believe in themselves, and urged them not to “settle for mediocrity.”

Marciano spoke of a football player who was selected to play for the NFL during the 6th round. A total of 199 players were chosen before him. The athlete was “too skinny,” had a weak arm, would likely get roughed up in the NFL and was described as slow.

That athlete now has won five Super Bowls, playing for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady, quarterback, epitomizes setting goals and dedication, Marciano said.

“You must dare to lose in order to have a chance to win,” the chairman advised the NPHS graduates.

One of life’s inevitable challenges, Salutatorian Casey Movsovitz said, is mustering up the courage to face change, however long it takes to do so.

Movsovitz recalled her first day at North Providence High. She’d had trouble opening her locker, repeating multiple failed attempts to pry it open. By the end of the day, she was in tears. After that, she didn’t use a locker again, until this year, when the weight of Advanced Placement course books was too heavy to carry.

Her tears that first day of freshman year, she realized, were not caused by locker malfunctions. Instead, she said, the heightened responsibility, work and stress of high school were the culprit.

“I see now that it wasn’t the locker I was afraid of or angry with, it was the change I was facing,” she said.

Movsovitz said the NPHS graduates would now venture through their next journey, and warned that it may not begin perfectly.

Her NPHS classmates might become homesick, change majors, have issues with their college roommate, grow nervous about joining the military or starting out in a job, or need a break from all the “normal things” high school graduates are expected to do post-commencement.

Though the “combo” may be wrong, or the dial is turned the wrong way, she told her fellow NPHS “cougars” that “whatever locker you face, you will unlock it.”

Class President Noah DiDomenico said, “The only problem with never having to take a real leap of faith in life is the fact that many people develop a fear of failure.”

That fear, he said, will cause many of his fellow alumni to hold back from something they love, or seizing opportunities, and he advised them to look past their worries.

Mayor Charles Lombardi prompted the Class of 2017 to lead with distinction, integrity and humility.

“That, my friends, is the consistency between what you say, what you do, and what you value.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it, living someone else’s life,” he said.

Oriana Hunter is all smiles as she enters Veterans Memorial Auditorium for the NPHS graduation ceremony last Thursday.
Kevin Martineau plays guitar as the North Providence Senior Choir sings “I’ll Be There For You” during the NPHS Class of 2017 graduation ceremony last Thursday.
North Providence High School senior Giovanni Collaza hugs a school official on stage after he receives his diploma last Thursday.
What began as a small group photo of North Providence High School graduates grew to include more than 50 classmates outside Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence last Thursday.
Casey Movsovitz delivers the salutatory address at the North Providence High School Graduation ceremony at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence last Thursday, June 8.