ELMSFORD, NY - The mid-morning thundershowers didn't put a damper on Alexander Hamilton High School 's graduation. As the students marched onto the Westchester Broadway Theater 's stage in their red and white gowns, the audience cheered while the graduates beamed and giggled delightfully.
"Here we are at Alexander Hamilton High School's graduation celebrating the success of the class of 2011," said Principal Marc Baiocco. "And what a great moment this is. For those who had doubts at times guess what? You did it, you're done."
The graduating class consisted of 70 students, with 63 receiving Regents diploma and 13 on the National Honor Society.
"The students, undoubtedly, are a very special class," said Betty Funny-Crosby, the Board of Education's president. "A class of leaders, scholars, world-class athletes, community servants, actors, actresses, singers and published authors. You've made your mark on this district and this community, and for that you should be very proud of yourselves."
Baiocco's message to the graduates was about greatness. He spoke of how greatness is unique for each individual and that, as baseball player Bob Rogers once said, it comes from respect, commitment to excellence and the rejection of mediocrity.
"There is a special grandness in the people sitting behind me," said salutatorian Kathleen Gonzales. "A certain distinct feature that really sets them apart... We have high expectations for ourselves."
The accomplishments and inimitability of the graduating class was apparent as Funny-Crosby got choked up mid-speech, saying how exceptional the students were to her.
"It won't be your mistakes that define your outcome," she said, teary-eyed. "It will be your resilience and strength."
Teachers, administrators and parents wished the graduates luck. In the coming months some will begin university, some will start a career and some will enter the military.
"Success in life lies with you," Funny-Crosby said. "No circumstance or person can stop you."
Gonzales, ready to conquer her future, left her classmates with a final thought.
"Our class motto is 'We are the greatest show on Earth,'" she said. "Let us finally show the world our greatness."
How do you celebrate graduation? What are your children's plans for the rest of the year?