WESTPORT, Conn. – High school may be over, but life is just beginning for the 424 seniors who graduated from Westport’s Staples High School on Tuesday afternoon.
“Staples is only the prologue to an amazing story,” valedictorian Matt Silver told his classmates during the commencement ceremony. “Outside of Staples lies a spectacular world. With an incredible education and supportive community at our sides, we are ready to enter the unknown.”
Matt compared his and the other graduates’ lives thus far to a snow globe: After four years in the same environment with mostly the same people, their lives have settled like snow in a snow globe when not shaken. But now, as graduates, he said it’s “time to shake things back up.”
Although their time at Staples may have been spectacular, Matt told his classmates the greatest times of their lives are ahead of them. In receiving their diplomas, they have embarked into adulthood. And with adulthood, Matt said, comes freedom.
“As adults, we’ll be free to explore and live and change the world,” said Matt, who’s headed to Princeton University in the fall. “None of us will truly know what freedom means until we step outside of Westport and see for ourselves.”
“Perhaps the best perk as adults is the ability to choose your own lifestyle,” he said. “As kids, our lives were organized with hardly any wiggle room. … As an adult, we can finally make our own decisions.”
Matt cautioned the graduates, however, that not all of their decisions will be the wisest. Nevertheless, by making their own decisions, both good and bad, he said they will learn how to succeed on their own.
In his address, Staples Principal John Dodig told the graduates they will be among the positive “change agents” of their generation. Superintendent Elliott Landon also gave the Class of 2012 words of advice and encouragement.
“Follow your passion,” Landon said. “Do what you love. Make a difference.”