MANCHESTER — Members of the Londonderry High School Class of 2012 were urged by their valedictorian to “be yourself” during the school's 33rd graduation exercises at the Verizon Center Friday night.
James Giles, who finished first in a class in which 42 students achieved a grade point average of 4.0 or higher, spoke of the perils of giving in to peer pressure.
“Be unique,” he said. “Your true friends will like you for who you really truly are”
Principal Jason Parent lauded the Class of 2012 for its accomplishments.
The graduating class included two National Merit Scholarship finalists, six New Hampshire jazz all-stars, four recipients of athletic scholarships to NCAA schools and one who received a service academy appointment.
In remarks peppered with humorous references to members of the class, the faculty, the administration and his prom date, Giles reminded fellow graduates that there is much to learn from failure.
Remarking that he failed the DARE drug education program in sixth grade, Giles noted that despite the failure, he still stayed away from drugs during high school.
“I realized that failure happens, but never let your shortcomings define you,” he said.
Class officers and representatives presented the class gift, a check for $2,012 to continue a project that has become a tradition at Londonderry High, arranging for the donation of hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
As the graduates prepared to enter the next stage of their lives, Class President Ayman Usmani reminded them to thank the people responsible for getting them there.
“When you go home today, thank your family for everything they have done for you,” Usami said. “You're so blessed to have them.”