, Salem, MA

Local News

June 10, 2013

Graduates urged to be 'everyday heroes'

MARBLEHEAD — Valedictorian Kathleen Reilly yesterday encouraged her fellow Marblehead High School graduates to be themselves and forge their own paths as they move on from the school.

“If we allow other people’s preconceived notions of us to limit or control the way we behave or the things we are willing to say, then those people own us,” she said. “When other people’s expectations shape the way we live, then we aren’t living our own lives.”

She said now is the time for graduates to start living for their own expectations and no one else’s.

“When we establish expectations for ourselves, it can be empowering and motivating,” she said, noting that her fellow students should also honor their pasts as they move forward.

With the boys donned in black gowns and the girls in red, the 209 graduates received their diplomas during a 2 p.m. ceremony yesterday held in the school’s field house.

Max Levine’s title should have been class humorist instead of class essayist for providing a speech filled with many one-line jokes and funny stories. But there was a part aimed at “making everyone cry,” he said.

“Some of us will be going into the armed forces. Others will explore for a year, and all the losers will go to college,” he said.

He asked fellow graduates to look to their left and right and thank those around them for the bond they all established as the Class of 2013.

“When you leave this Sunday detention, will you forget about those around you?” he asked. “I know I won’t forget where we began or what we learned.”

Mentioning examples of heroism during the Boston Marathon attack, Superintendent Gregory Maass challenged the graduates to be “an everyday hero.”

“Those who chose to serve that day didn’t go to Boston to be a hero,” he said. “As a matter of fact, when you think about those individuals even today, we don’t know many of their names. But I can guarantee you that those individuals that they served that day know those individual heroes’ names.”

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