It's their time: Smithfield High graduates ready to 'live every day'

It's their time: Smithfield High graduates ready to 'live every day'

Isabella Romeo, left, and Amber DeCristofaro pose for a photo before the start of the Smithfield High School Graduation at Bryant University Tuesday night. (Valley Breeze & Observer photos by BIll Murphy)

SMITHFIELD - Graduates of the Smithfield High School Class of 2014 were reminded Tuesday night that time passes in the blink of an eye, so they should spend their future finding happiness and helping others.

After performances of "Pomp and Circumstance" by the SHS Band and the national anthem by the SHS Chorus, Principal Daniel Kelley kicked off the school's 47th commencement ceremony talking about how "amazingly quick" the years have flown by since he earned his high school diploma.

He told his 200 graduates seated in the Bryant University gymnasium to take care of their minds and bodies by continuing to read and stay active, and he urged them to stop looking down at their phones.

When you are stressed, remember to breathe and laugh, Kelley said, and try to avoid negativity.

"Respect yourself to walk away from anything that doesn't serve you, grow you or make you happy," Kelley said. "Time is precious; waste it wisely."

School Committee Chairman Richard Iannitelli joked that if he had more time, he could attempt to answer the two questions really on the students' minds: What is this real world everyone is talking about, and when will I ever use this?

While Shakespeare does not come up in conversation every day, Iannitelli said he reads more now than he ever did in high school.

"The good news is nobody has ever asked me to conjugate a verb," he said.

The importance of learning is not in the facts accumulated during the past four years, he said, but in acquiring the skills to obtain more knowledge and the ability to work independently.

But, as pointed out by Valedictorian Brady Greene and Salutatorian Mirabel Sleiman, who addressed their fellow graduates together in one speech, students owe thanks to their teachers, families and friends for helping them along the way.

"We don't know what our plans will be tomorrow or even five years from now," Greene said. "Life is a journey not a destination."

Sleiman continued, "No matter what the future holds, we will have the strength and support of our home town behind us."

Supt. Robert O'Brien said that support system of family and friends has "taught you how to live a meaningful and productive life."

Graduates, O'Brien said, should continue to act charitably and commit "to self-improvement, excellence and to helping those around you."

One example of the Class of 2014's giving spirit was the annual presentation of a gift to the junior class. This year, Senior Class President Ryan Cote said the departing Sentinels committed to replacing the courtyard picnic tables.

Ceremoniously receiving the gift was Matthew Strik, junior class president, who told the class, "The legacy you have left behind will not soon be forgotten."

Another part of that legacy has to do with athletics, as Cote pointed out, with the Class of 2014 contributing to four state championships during their time at SHS. That's one-third of all the state championships Smithfield has ever won, he said.

Cote told his peers they were also responsible for academic and artistic achievements, as well as putting on the popular school fashion show.

SHS has nurtured musical talents, he said, like those that were on display during the ceremony when the SHS Chorus performed "We Hold On Together" and "It's Time," and the SHS Band played "Aveia."

"We've made a difference," Cote said.

Success should not only be measured by what makes you happy, Cote continued, but by how you make other people feel.

"If you can make just one person's life better, then you have fulfilled your destiny in life and you are successful," he said.

Cote put his own spin on the popular YOLO saying meaning "you only live once." Graduates should live by YODO instead, he said.

"You only die once," Cote said, "but you live every day."

Stephanie Ricci waves as she enters the gym at Bryant University for the start of Smithfield High School's graduation exercises Tusesday night.
Katelyn Lane receives her diploma from Smithfield High School Principal Daniel Kelley.
Federico Rocco receives his diploma from Smithfield High School Principal Daniel Kelley at the Smithfield High School graduation at Bryant University Tuesday night.
Khiarina Albanese claps along to a song sung by the Smithfield High School chorus at the Smithfield High School graduation at Bryant University Tuesday night. At left is Samantha Adams.
Smithfield High School seniors move their tassels to the left side of their caps at the conclusion of the Smithfield High School graduation at Bryant University Tuesday night.