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New Rochelle High School Class of 2011 Graduates

NEW ROCHELLE -- Students of the New Rochelle High School embarked on the next, perhaps equally important chapter of their lives: life after graduation. On Wednesday, hundreds of students turned their tassles and marched through the doors of New Rochelle High School.

A thunderstorm watch pushed the ceremony from the football field into the school’s gymnasium, filling the vacuum of the tiny gym with the tittering voices of hundreds of parents and families. The floor was awash in a sea of purple and white gowns and balloons shimmering with messages of “Congratulations Grad!” and “Class of 2011,” looking like miniature disco lights during the ceremony.

This year’s 167th commencement exercises provided over 200 awards to its students, from scholastic achievement, to musical accomplishment, to technology know-how, among other useful life skills.

For 15 minutes, student and student ambled down the walk of fame, elbows entwined, to the cheer of their parents, bearing grins, smirks, and thumbs-up as they passed. It resembled, for those few minutes, the Hollywood red carpet, where a supernova of flashes cascaded down on the graduates by a mob of photo-hungry parents.

Mayor Bramson spoke first at the podium, which was crowded from sight by hoards of parents. Bramson, a former graduate of the high school, was brief: “Members of the class of 2011, to you, to your parents and loved ones, I provide the gift of brevity. Congratulations on this great achievement, good luck on your future endeavors, and make us proud in all that you do. Thank you very much.”

Jacob Meiner, the class’s valedictorian, offered an equivocal, yet powerful message to the graduating students. “And so as we prepare to say our farewells to the familiar walls of New Rochelle High School,  consider the following questions: What are you passionate about? What drives you? And what moves you?”

As quickly as the ceremony begun, it ended with the graduates throwing their hats into the air. Where they land, no one can be certain.

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