Shea graduates told to live with love, avoid complacency

Shea graduates told to live with love, avoid complacency

Keira Nascimento shows her excitement upon graduating, during the Charles E. Shea High School graduation ceremony, held at Max Read Field last Wednesday. (Breeze photos by Charles Lawrence)

PAWTUCKET – Family and friends of Shea High School, filling the bleacher seats at Max Read Field more than an hour before the evening ceremony began last Wednesday, June 6, roared and cheered upon seeing their favorite seniors enter the field.  

Thirty-eight percent of Shea High’s 175 graduating seniors received at least one of four honors: National Honor Society, Rhode Island Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica and the Seal of Biliteracy.

Admitted into the Rhode Island Honor Society and the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica and a recipient of the Seal of Biliteracy, Luisa Furtado sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Taiwo Esther Kayode, senior class president, welcomed the audience. Kayode was admitted into the National and Rhode Island honor societies and the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, as was her twin sister, Kehinde Grace Kayode, who gave the valedictorian address.

Shea Principal Jacqueline Ash pointed out four students in particular, Finesse Fernandes, Devin Fonseca, Erik Hernandez and Daniel Sossa, who exemplified the four attributes of Shea’s acronym: Skilled, Honorable, Empowered Achievers.

“Make those words your center … SHEA, the acronym and meaning attached, will fulfill you intellectually and here in your heart,” said Ash. After she invited Shea’s teachers to join in delivering a final message to the entire class, Ash and teachers said, in unison, “If nobody told you they loved you today, remember we do and we always will.”

Repeatedly expressing great pride in the senior class, Mayor Donald Grebien urged students to persevere and push themselves. He sought their commitment to “think before you act, be thoughtful and do not be complacent.”

The graduation is “as much their celebration as yours,” said Pawtucket School Supt. Patti DiCenso who praised the seniors’ families and teachers, from elementary school and beyond, including Shea High School. Acknowledging societal challenges – the #MeToo movement, high school shootings and the proliferation of “fake news” – DiCenso said, “I know you will go out and change the world; it’s not hopeless and we’re not helpless. … You’re vital to this world; you are the players for change for the good.” Practice acts of kindness each and every day, she said.

Comparing life’s changes – in love, happiness, sorrow and loss – to New England weather, Pawtucket School Committee Chairman Jay Charbonneau told seniors that self-love, the most important kind of love, must come before love for others.

“Never settle for less than you deserve, strive for excellence and be as kind to yourself as you are hard on yourself,” he said. “Only you have complete control over (happiness); find it, then go and have it.” Everyone experiences sorrow and we all get through it; when you lose something or believe you’ve lost your way, Charbonneau said, “Look around, process what you need to and move on; it’s not the end of the world.”

In her senior class speech, Destiny Monteiro, a member of the National and Rhode Island honor societies, urged her fellow graduates to celebrate this graduation milestone.

“We are celebrating future doctors, veterinarians, artists, musicians and many more,” she said. “Cherish your past, hope for the future and live in the moment because you can never get it back. … Take this time to reflect on … how far you’ve worked to get here.” Nothing is impossible, she predicted, as their future for the 2018 graduates holds no boundaries.

Valedictorian Kehinde (Kind-day) Grace Kayode described Shea’s Class of 2018 as “a family … that has the potential to strive for greatness.” Identifying a few playful lessons that different teachers imparted, Shea’s most important lesson, she said, was learning “how to work together as a community and a team …”

“Find people who will uplift and encourage you, and set you up for the success you want to achieve in life,” she urged her fellow graduates. “Ask great things of the world, and great things of yourself, and importantly, ask great things of God, and you shall receive (them),” she said.

After the seniors received their diplomas from Ash, graduates Taiwo Esther Kayode and Tatiana Vaz (admitted to the National and Rhode Island honor societies), along with Joseph Osagie, Class of 2019, participated in a passing of the torch ceremony.  

The traditional “turning of the tassels” signifies the students have earned their diplomas and have officially graduated, during the Charles E. Shea High School graduation ceremony, held at Max Read Field last Wednesday.
Devin Fonseca receives his diploma.
Joseph Adegboyega, a member of the National Honor Society, Rhode Island Honor Society, Soceidad Honoraria Hispanica, and who holds the Seal of Biliteracy, greets his friends and family after graduating.
Kehinde Grace Kayode, class valedictorian, tells students one of the most important things they have learned is working together as a team.
Emely Arroyave is excited to receive her diploma.