YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Yorktown High School Class of 2012 was praised as being a high-achieving, talented and close-knit group during commencement exercises Saturday in the packed performing arts center at SUNY Purchase.
This year's class totaled 332 graduates, including five sets of twins and three sets of triplets.
"You are a class we will never forget," said Principal Joseph DeGennaro. "Never underestimate who you are and what you are able to accomplish."
The Senior Choir kicked the ceremony into high gear with a stirring rendition of "Lean On Me." Salutatorian Julia Kelly, who will be attending Cornell University in the fall, then spoke of the empty feeling she had when she closed her locker for the last time, a place she estimated she had visited approximately 3,600 times during her four years at Yorktown High.
"For me, it was symbolic of the end of my high school career," she said. "We made new friends and strengthened our bond with old friends. I've learned there's so much for me to be happy about. Class of 2012, may you always be positive and kind."
Valedictorian Michael Beechert, who will be attending Dartmouth College, encouraged his classmates to find the greatness that lies within themselves.
"Do not settle. Do not compromise yourselves. We cannot be complacent. The world needs us," he said. "I encourage all of you to live to your fullest and surpass it."
Daniel Steinmetz, class president for four years in high school, quoted Thomas Edison when talking about success, saying, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."
"This class has learned what it takes to triumph. Every student in our class has contributed to our success," said Steinmetz, who will be attending the University of Michigan. "We truly are a class of winners."