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Headmaster Ciccariello's Graduation Speech to Somerville High Class of 2012

Tony Ciccariello is retiring as headmaster of Somerville High School at the end of this year. On Tuesday, he delivered his final graduation speech. Here's what he said.

Ed. note: at , Tony Ciccariello is retiring at the end of this year. Here's the text of his final speech to graduating seniors.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Curtatone, Superintendent Pierantozzi, School Committee Members, Members of the Board of Aldermen, invited guests and faculty -- welcome to Somerville High School's 2012 Commencement Ceremony.  Our celebration this evening acknowledges each member of the Class of 2012 and we also pay respect to you collectively as a class.  In preparing my address as I have the past several years, I ask staff at the High School to describe in a word or phrase what comes to mind when thinking about your class.

This year, the common attributes or qualities that I heard in describing your class were camaraderie, academic achievement and school spirit. Your class has done well; the representation of college acceptances is impressive. As noteworthy, are the school and work opportunities our students in the Center for Career and Technical Education have chosen. And as well as you all have done individually, what I find remarkable was your commitment to bettering the experience of all students at Somerville High School. Your efforts in this regard have been the cornerstone force behind the expansion of extracurricular activities for all students. It was your level of participation and interest in a complete high school experience that has helped bring about new clubs and activities. 

During your time at Somerville High School, great changes occurred both in you and the world around you. And that is in a way the bigger picture goal of what your high school experience has been about. The changes you have experienced- in mind and body, the changes in maturity and the vistas that your high school experiences have given you for your future and realizing your dreams.  

What I hope for each of you is that when you look back upon your time together, you will be happier for the friendships you have made, you will be a kinder, gentler person because of the people you encountered during your years at Somerville High School and more importantly, you will have the inspiration and determination to give back to your community to be the person that a friend can count on when the chips are down and to always strive to bring honor and pride to your families. 

Today, you have heard in speeches the term future. So where is the hope for a better future? I am looking at it. It is you the graduates of this class. The manner in which you came together as a class and worked for the common good of all students at Somerville High School has a lesson in it for all of us. You managed to accomplish your personal goals while at the same time looking out for your neighbor. What a wonderful legacy you are leaving us.  

We are confident in the role we have played in helping you develop as learners.  But more importantly, Somerville High School's strength as an institution of learning comes from the community ethic that has permeated our school for over a century. To understand- that whatever accomplishments we have in life are usually the result of hard work and help from family and friends.  

This understanding and knowing when to say thank you will be invaluable lessons you take forward.

So in keeping with tradition, I ask the members of the Class of 2012 to stand, to look out at the audience gathered here, look for that person or individuals who helped make this day a reality and say thank you. 

I want to thank the teachers and staff at Somerville High School for their efforts and dedication. I also want to acknowledge the role of our elementary teachers and administrators in bringing about this day for so many of you. Your education did not begin at Somerville High School; rather, our role was to support you on what we hope will be a path of being lifelong learners.   

And so I now end this speech with the same words have I have spoken to each class. In a few moments, you’ll transition from being Somerville High School students to your new role as alumni. It is important that you recognize your place and your responsibilities as a class to the legacy you inherit from previous graduates. You now are members of a long and distinguished list of alumni, men and women like yourselves who have gone into the world and who have brought with them those qualities and characteristics which have historically marked a Somerville High School education. We know those qualities to be commitment to giving and caring about one's family, the community and the world beyond your hometown. Class of 2012, it is now your time and your responsibility to pick up that standard. Graduation is but one success in your lives; we are confident that there will be many more. You leave us with the best wishes of an entire community. And to the community’s wishes, let me add my own best wishes for continued success and happiness to each and every one of you. Members of the Class of 2012- the world is waiting for you.  Superintendent Pierantozzi, I present the members of the Class of 2012; each has met the graduation requirements set down by the Somerville School Committee and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

LSG June 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Thank you, Headmaster Ciccariello, for fostering that sense of community and shared responsibility in Somerville's teenagers. You have put much goodness into the world. And congratulations to Somerville's new graduates!

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