Last Friday afternoon 296 seniors who are part of the Class of 2019 walked across the stage at East Boston Memorial Stadium to pick up their diplomas as part of East Boston High School’s Commencement Exercises.
With the sun shining and a warm breeze the girls wore yellow robes and the boys wore blue to represent Eastie’s colors. At noon the class had walked into the stadium and taken their seats.
Graduation kicked off with Police Officer Gabe Rosa singing the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance followed. The transfer of the school colors, a tradition at every graduation followed with two students from the Class of 2019 presenting the colors to two students from the Class of 2020.
Delivering the 2019 salutatory address was Udaya Sathiyamoorty.
“To start, I would like to give a moment of appreciation to the person who inspired me to become a computer scientist: Mr. Foster,” said Sathiyamoorty. “If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have had the head start I needed to begin my programming career, nor the confidence to advance it. He’s an all-around great guy whom I share a lot of my hobbies with. Not to mention, he’s the only teacher I’ve ever met (and probably will ever meet) who assigned me games for homework.”
Sathiyamoorty said Foster was not the only teacher he wanted to thank for helping him along the way.
“Mr. Glavin, I’m grateful that you made every day of sophomore year interesting by teaching us facts outside of your field, like how blood comes from bone marrow,” he said. “Ms. Coolidge, for showing us all of those documentaries on food and health in freshman year, as I took advice from them myself. And Ms. Fabian, for giving us the most essential skill of all—Photoshop—that I gladly used to turn myself into Thanos last year. To all of my teachers, and even the ones I never had the chance to meet, thank you for putting in the effort to make learning enjoyable.”
Sathiyamoorty also thanked all the parents in the audience.
“To our parents, we owe you a permanent gratitude for your continued support and guidance in our lives,” he said. “If it weren’t for everything you’ve sacrificed to guide us on our paths, we wouldn’t be standing here today. Anyone can hold the title of parent by simply having a child, but it takes a true family member to put their child’s needs above their own desires.”
This year’s Valedictorian Address was delivered by Sabrina Ruiz.
“Graduation is supposed to be our happy day,” said Ruiz. “I say supposed to be because perhaps it isn’t that way for everybody, as you all may have personal obstacles that you have to overcome. But today – this day – you should feel proud. The Class of 2019 is here for a reason. With numerous paths and stories intersecting, we still somehow reached the same destination: this stage. Life can feel beyond our control at times. But what I – what we – should remember is this: we possess the judgment to set our own boundaries and acknowledge what it is we desire. This is the first step to building and expanding our inner strength.”
Offering words of advice to her class, Ruiz urged her classmates to enjoy the small moments in life.
“Because now, I stand here on this beautiful day to tell you this: Enjoy small moments of happiness while they last, because honestly, life is too short to dwell on the bad,” she said. “None of us can predict what awaits us. Life may fall apart whenever it wishes, and our only control is how we choose to respond to that reality. We don’t know what is going to happen after today, or tomorrow. So I choose to celebrate, right here, right now, with all of you. I feel more alive than I ever could have dreamt. I feel the inspiration, the determination, to persevere. The rush of emotion, that everybody here deserves to feel. With support or not, we all achieved something, being gathered here in this moment of life. We did it.”
Other invited guests who addressed the graduates included Michael Loconto, chairperson from the Boston School Committee; the honorable Roberto Ronquillo, Jr., Chief justice of Boston Municipal Court and East Boston High School headmaster Philip Brangiforte. Others on the platform for the occasion included City Councilor Annissa George, State Rep Adrian Madaro and David Arinella, dean of coaches for East Boston High School.