STAMFORD, Conn. -- Chris O’Neill, a 2000 Stamford High School graduate who is now a cast member with “Book of Mormon” on Broadway, got a starring role at his alma mater's 150th graduation ceremony on Thursday evening amid the 450 soon-to-be graduates in a near-capacity Boyle Stadium.
O’Neill’s light-hearted commencement address moved between poking fun at himself and offering the graduates advice.
“A lousy student who barely passed high school is proof that anything is possible," he said. "Be present. Take chances. Understand that anything is possible. Never quit. Never settle.”
Winding down, he told the graduates' parents to stand and asked for applause. He closed by posing for a “classic selfie,” squeezing everything out of a visual that only an actor could pull off, and walked off to a big round of applause.
The co-presidents of the class preceded O’Neill. The first, Zoe Usowski, told her classmates “Use your words, use your ideas, make a difference, change the world.”
The second, Geoffrey Cahr said “The Class of 2015 truly deserves a round of applause for all we’ve accomplished,” and closed with a quote from Abe Lincoln: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
The visual highlight of the evening was the sea of decorated mortarboards — perhaps a quarter of the graduates created their own designs. Some were simple, such as “BROWN” in block letters, others displayed college names or logos, still others were highly decorated, including one with the classic Porky Pig drawing along with his final line “That’s All Folks.”
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