Friday, June 18, 1999
CCHS Class of 1999 Graduates
The high school years have been forever immortalized in pop culture as a time full of fast cars, rock music and rebellion, but speaking as a recent graduate, there seems to be a gap in this case between perception and reality. Apparently, the people who wrote the songs and movies that created this teenage image never actually attended high school, because the average student will give you a fairly different description. For many kids, high school is a mix of laughter, tears and stress, a turbulent time to say the least. Concord-Carlisle High School is no different. It has its problems and difficulties like any other school, but its saving graces are the sense of humor and the passion for learning that exist in every facet of the school community. Only while listening to the speaker chosen to give the graduation address, Dr. Elliot Lilien of the social studies department, and now, on reflecting a few days after graduation, have I realized how important these two factors have been in my high school experience. The passion for knowledge and the sense of humor that the faculty of CCHS bestows upon its students are what makes CCHS special, and what I'll miss the most in years to come.
The graduation ceremony was fairly short; the hour and a half that passed between walking down to the field and throwing our caps up in the air seemed to go by in an instant. Its indisputable highlight was the speech made by Dr. Lilien. Dr. Lilien was absolutely hilarious, as usual, offering such sage advice as "protect your knees." He took a wonderfully funny route to insightful conclusions, and I doubt that many speeches in the history of CCHS graduations have been as well-enjoyed. His speech centered around real-world hopes for our class instead of far-off, world-changing ideals. At his own graduations, he said, speakers told the graduating classes things such as, "Today we have no computer that will marry you," or, "we are without electric dinner utensils. You will produce the electric fork, you will invent a marrying computer." Lilien however, voiced no such hopes for the class of '99. Instead, he encouraged us to stop saying "like" so much, and to learn how to spell "receive." He told us, "keep your sense of humor," and "become a writer of nonsense limericks. Doing so will make you feel that what you are about cannot be of overwhelming importance." In the so-titled "hope for the future ending," he said that he hoped that we would "find tasks worthy of your abilities," and "find good friends." Lilien spoke of the bad qualities of Beethoven, noting what a terrible roommate he would have made. To us, he said, "I know you will all be good roommates, even if you don't write the Choral Symphony. This class strikes me as being full of good roommatedness. That's one of the reasons I like it so much." Thank you, Dr. Lilien. We couldn't have asked for a higher compliment.
The rest of the ceremony, while perhaps not as humorous as Dr. Lilien's speech, was just as memorable. Speeches were made by Principal Elaine DiCicco, President of the Senior Class Patricia Sweet, and Eugene Thayer, Ed. D., Superintendent of Schools. The CCHS Concert Band was in attendance as well, treating us to a wonderful rendition of "Recorded by Sinatra," conducted by Alfred Dentino. The only awards actually presented at the ceremony were the John F. Donovan Flag Awards, given to the best all-around young woman and young man in the graduating class, who possess the qualities of dependability, leadership, service, and patriotism to an outstanding degree, and athletic plaques given to the young man and woman who best possess the qualities of cooperation, good sportsmanship, unselfishness, leadership, loyalty, and a good athletic record. This year the Flag Awards were presented to Rebecca Muse-Orlinoff and Patrick Toomey, and the athletic plaques went to Jeffrey Critchlow and Megan Moran-Gates. The presentation of diplomas was, as always, a happy ending.
The fact that high school is actually over, that I won't see all my friends and teachers, come Monday, didn't really hit me until a few days after graduation. As the days pass I find more and more things that I miss about school, whether it's the people I used to say hi to in the hall or the classes I enjoyed. There were times when I doubted that I would look back on high school fondly, but now I find myself doing just that. I wouldn't want to go through it again, but I'll miss the four years I spent there. The high school years aren't the "glory days" that they have been made out to be, because we all move on to bigger and better things, but I know now that I'll miss the friends that I made, the teachers that I had, and the sense of community that I came to feel, more than I ever would have thought possible. I guess what they say is true, "you don't know what you've got til it's gone."
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito