“All week I’ve been hearing, ‘Man, this class. They’re just not like any I’ve seen,’” said Portsmouth High School Principal Robert E. Littlefield.
“It’s the spirit. It’s non-stop spirit. Relentless spirit. Exhausting spirit. Inestimable spirit.”
Littlefield addressed the 249 graduates of the class of 2012 — the largest in the school’s history — and their families on Friday night in the gymnasium.
He and other speakers, which included class officers, Superintendent of Schools Lynn Krizic, guest speaker and teacher Jeffrey Schoonover, and graduates Hayley Dee McClintock and Samuel John Gorton, brought words of inspiration by the likes of Henry David Thoreau and humorous references to the Gettysburg Address. Of course, much wisdom was handed out as well.
Schoonover compared receiving the and meeting President Obama to being asked by the graduates to speak.
“I’ll be honest. This invitation, I’ll treasure more,” he said.
Cheers went up for each student as they walked the stage to receive their diplomas, pausing only briefly for a photo opportunity. Several students received standing ovations from their classmates, while families hooted and hollered with joy.
After all was said and done, graduation caps were flung into the air, and the newly minted graduates filed from the room bursting with excitement.
It was an emotional scene on the lawn in front of the school. As the sun set for the last time on their high school careers, the members of the class of 2012 embraced one another, posed for photos with their families and shouted cheers of triumph.
Graduate Savannah Fletcher, who heads to Stony Brook University to major in bio-chemistry in the fall, seemed dazed by it all.
“I don’t even know how to feel. It seems so unreal,” she said.
Nearby Marena Boyadjian was there celebrating her fourth and youngest son, James. She said her kids had a “wonderful opportunity” in attending Portsmouth High School.
“James did a lot for the school, and the school did a lot for him,” she said.
Brenna Craft’s father Ralph was nothing but excited for his daughter. When asked if the moment was bittersweet he replied,” I don’t look at it that way. It’s just awesome.”