On Friday morning, over 200 East Boston High School seniors walked the stage at East Boston Memorial Stadium and received their diplomas as part of the high school’s graduation exercise.
The evening kicked off with the traditional procession of the Class of 2022 into the stadium followed by the presentation of colors by EBHS JROTC.
Anivia Sophorirath then performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, the crowd was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by EBHS Coach Dave Arinella.
The ceremony got underway with a welcome and remarks by Arinella before EBHS Headmaster Phil Brangiforte addressed the Class of 2022.
“Four years ago, all of you entered East Boston High as wide-eyed freshmen ready to embark on a new and exciting journey,” Brangiforte began. “And then – 18 months into your high school career, COVID changed everything. Since that time, you have all faced incredible challenges: constant Zooming; playing sports with masks on; missing out on so many activities and events. Yet despite endless disruptions to your families, to your social lives, and to your education, the Class of 2022 has triumphed… and today…will walk across the stage as proud graduates of this great academic institution. As we emerge from the dark cloud of COVID, I want all of you to know how incredibly proud I am to have served as your Headmaster. Your efforts in unprecedented adversity, your resilience and determination to overcome all obstacles, and your sheer will to succeed is an inspiration for generations to come.”
Brangiforte was followed by a keynote address to the Class of 2022 delivered by Rep. Adrian Madaro.
“The Class of 2022 can be marked by one word: resiliency,” said Madaro. “Your generation has faced more challenges in school over the past few years than any other in decades. A global pandemic, not only impacting our families and our communities, but shutting down schools, moving classes to remote learning, and returning with the complications of Covid restrictions. Not the best conditions for learning, or for socializing with your classmates, or for managing mental health during what can be, even in the best of times, a tough few years for a lot of people. In many ways, you’ve all faced the impossible. But you know what? You did it. Here you are, today. You may have struggled during these past few years, but this experience has only made you stronger, both as individuals and as a class. The challenges of your high school experience have shown that there is nothing you can’t overcome, no obstacle that you can’t tackle once you put your mind to it.”
Madaro told the Class of 2022 to be proud of themselves, never stop learning and give back to the community.
“Today marks the end of the latest chapter of your life, and the beginning of the next,” said Madaro. “Let your experiences here be the foundation on which you start to build your future, whatever it be. Be proud, give back, and always keep learning.”
Following Madaro, EBHS Salutatorian Genesis Onuoha addressed the class.
“Outside these buildings, the world is full of false guarantees and life can be uncertain,” said Onuiha. “Childhood is heavily structured…kind of like having bumpers on a bowling lane. The system exerts immense force to keep you on track. Then you graduate, the bumpers come off, the lane disappears, and you’re a bowling ball sitting in an empty field. High school is not the highlight of our lives, it’s the end of the first chapter and the beginning of the rest. For the past four years, I’ve watched many of you grow into amazing people and I believe that everyone here has the power to succeed. I know it’s easier said than done, but you’ve all made it to this point, which proves you have great potential to make the world a better place. The next chapters in our lives will look different for each of us, and so will our definitions of success. All that matters is that you’re happy with where you are at. So follow the dreams that will make you proud, or at the very least, dreams that you can look back on in a couple of years and think to yourself, “At least I gave it a shot,” because at the end of the day, as cliche and as corny as this sounds, a great poet once said, you only live once. So remember the only person who has to live with your choices is you.”
EBHS Class of 2022 Valedictorian John Le then delivered his speech.
“I know these last few years have been hard for us, but we are finally here today,” said Le. “Every one of you seniors should be proud of what you have accomplished to get here. It is a huge achievement. Whether you decide to go to college or pursue a different path, I know each and every one of you will be successful. As we continue our journey and move into this new chapter of our lives, it is important to note that there will be many challenges we will have to face. Whether they be big tests or trying to meet new people, you should always have an end goal in mind. Each and every one of you should be proud of yourselves for making it this far. I sincerely hope that whichever path you decide to take, you find what you are looking for and you make the most out of it. Best of luck to everyone and thank you.”