Welcome members of the Board of Education, Superintendent Richards, and Principal O'Donnell; faculty, staff, and students; parents, relatives, and dear friends to the graduation of the class of 2012!

My name is Simon Brewer, and it has been my privilege to serve as the student body president this past year. And what a year it has been! We've endured hurricanes and blizzards, competitions academic and athletic, security cameras and standardized tests, college applications and other post-graduation planning, proms and other social events that result in more pictures than any reasonable person can endure.

Oh, and that's not to mention any of the school work — we did have a little bit of that, too, I suppose. And now we have come to the final moments of the high school experience: graduation. So give yourselves a round of applause for making it this far. So now that we've reached the moment we've all been waiting for, you can reward yourself with a quick nap while I share a few thoughts with those people in the audience who are legally obliged to remain awake during the whole ceremony.

I would like to suggest that you are all here today because you played an important role in at least one of these soon-to-be graduate's educational experiences. For many of you, it was as a teacher, mentor, or coach; for others, you may have been a source of inspiration or consolation when times were tough. For some younger siblings out there, you may have been a pupil or a test subject, depending on which disciplines appeal to your older brothers and sisters. All of you have shared in parts of our journey and helped to ease our burdens, and for that, we truly say thank you. Every one of us has experienced moments of despair and desperation along with the excitement and wonder that accompanies growing up. We wouldn't be sitting here today in quite the same way if you hadn't done what you did and said what you said to help us navigate that.

In memory of Nick

One of those moments came at the end of eighth grade with the death of our friend and classmate Nick Parisot. Please remove your hats for a moment of silence in memory of Nick.

We got through that time by standing together in solidarity, and I suspect we will get through other difficult times by similarly standing by one another. As a high school class graduating together, we share a connection that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate elsewhere. There are very few experiences which, regardless of how hard you try, you can only experience once in your lifetime. Graduating high school is one of those. No matter what else you become, what other families you find or titles you accept, you will always be a Warrior. You will always have a cohort here willing to listen to your stories and share in your triumphs and pick you up from your defeats. It's something we've learned to do together on the field and in the classroom and backstage. And when memories of Moby Dick and solubility rules have faded from our minds, hopefully it something we will not forget.

Congratulations, class of 2012. You've earned your place here, so for the next couple of hours, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. After that, the real fun begins.