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Walter Panas Students Graduate In White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Cheers, laughter and warm regards were heard at the 40th annual commencement ceremony for Walter Panas High School’s Class of 2012 at the Westchester County Center on Saturday.

After the 235 students took their seats, Superintendent George E. Stone addressed the class, emphasizing that the students were well prepared for the future because of the manner in which they were taught.

“Our point was to make you think – not just to learn, but to think about what you are learning,” he said.

Salutatorian Luke Friedman focused on meeting expectations, and how those expectations have transformed from early middle school days to the final days of high school. Ultimately, he said, what matters is living up to one’s own expectations.

“No matter where you go after graduation, we’ve all started thinking about our own expectations for ourselves and our futures,” he said. “It is up to us to make things happen for ourselves.”

Valedictorian Dalia Akhnoukh followed with a speech that highlighted the journey of the Class of 2012. She said she hoped the students had made the most of their high school experience, and, if not, she urged them to take more time appreciating what life has to offer.

“Today is a day for endings, but tomorrow is for new beginnings,” Akhnoukh said. “Ask questions and search for answers. Most importantly, don’t let time pass you by.”

After a musical interlude, class  President Carly Ferrari spoke of the friends she made throughout her high school career, and predicted where certain students would be in the future. 

“The Class of 2012 is full of so much potential,” Ferrari said of her peers. Ferrari shared her love for her classmates by blowing kisses to the audience after finishing her speech.

The faculty commencement speaker, Cassandra Nicholas of the mathematics department, concluded the speeches by “keeping it real” for the students.

“You were born to fall,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as long as it’s less than the number of times you get back up.” Nicholas invited students to find their own callings, and to do what they were meant to do in life.

“Define yourself by your own terms and not by someone else’s. You are all here for a reason, and your real job is to find out what that reason is,” she said. “Let nothing stand in your way.”





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