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Arlington High School sends off Class of 2010

ARLINGTON — Nadia Arang was well-prepared for speaking in front of a large crowd.

What the Arlington High School valedictorian wasn't ready for was electric shock.

"We'll be presenting the rest of our speech in this fashion," said Arang, who had angled her microphone downward during her speech to avoid rain falling into the electronic device.

She ducked her head to make up for the last-minute change of plan, speaking to hundreds of parents, students, teachers and community members in attendance.

Despite drizzly conditions, the rest of the high school's graduation commencement exercise went off as planned on Tuesday, June 15.

More than 350 seniors received their diplomas at John C. Larson Stadium, including Arang and fellow valedictorians Joseph Coté, Amye Ellsworth, Amanda Lyon and Jessica Van Loo.

Principal Kurt Criscione began the commencement with a short introduction, highlighting members of the Arlington School Board, as well as his administrative team. Criscione's welcome address was followed by short speeches by senior class President and emcee Marie Serica and Ellsworth.

Ellsworth said that the senior class will benefit from the experiences they've had at Arlington High School, and thanked staff members and parents for providing guidance along the way.

"We truly appreciate your support," Ellsworth said. "We (also) owe Clearasil and our orthodontists a thank you."

Following Ellsworth was a performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by seniors Kena McClure, Katie Couch and other members of the school's Jazzmine group.

Nancy Burns, senior class counselor, then recognized the school's foreign exchange students.

"Those students have made significant contributions by sharing their cultures with this school," Burns said.

During their co-valedictorian speech, Arang and Lyon discussed the importance of students remembering their pasts while keeping their eyes on the future.

"In high school we learned how to be ourselves," Lyon said. "For most of use, high school have been our greatest memories."

The seniors have endured many hardships, including crowded hallways and difficult classes, during their tenure at the school, the seniors said.

"Those crowded hallways will soon be the least of your worries," said Arang, adding that graduating students will soon be venturing off into careers and college. "This is nothing like life — lives are like one big elective. They're fixed, not fluid."

Lyon urged her classmates to not dwell in the past.

"Don't let these memories be all you ever had," she said.

Justin Goheen then sang the second musical tribute to the class of 2010, performing "This Is Your Life."

But in the end, it was Criscione who stole the show with his musical fanfare.

"I'm about 100 percent sure that I won't change your future at this point — only you can do that," he said. "But only if you don't stop believing."

At that point, Journey's famous ballad "Don't Stop Believing" played over the stadium's loud speakers, prompting students and audience members to stand up and sing along.

The music halted after the first verse, which read "He took the midnight train goin' anywhere."

"In a short time, you'll be on that midnight train going anywhere," Criscione said. "It's great to plan for the future, but don't live there."

He ended with a personal anecdote about when was young, he took dance lessons. When it was finally time to perform in front of an audience, he got the chicken pox and was unable to do so.

During the graduation ceremony, however, Criscione did dance, and recruited senior class ASB members join him on stage.

Once that dance number concluded, Arlington School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy certified that the Class of 2010 had met the district and state requirements to graduate, and students received their diplomas.

"We are so proud of you graduates," she said. "You have the power to change the world."

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