On a Wednesday afternoon too hot for school, but not too hot to graduate, the Sparrows Point class of 2011 was told to recall the great friendships they’ve made.
And realize it’s now time to go out into the world and build new ones.
The 154 seniors of the Class of 2011 made a final journey together Wednesday afternoon, receiving their high school diplomas during graduation ceremonies at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.
Salutatorian Erika Gunzelman said in her address that she came to Sparrows Point “a nervous, timid freshman,” and nonetheless managed each day to make new acquaintances.
At the time, she said, “I felt as though graduation was a million miles away.”
“We must establish new friendships at the end of this chapter of our lives,” Gunzelman told her classmates. “We’ve got to write the next chapter.”
Likewise, senior class president Ruth Blusiewicz also reminded her fellow graduating seniors of the importance of friendship. She asked them to stop and listen to their fluttering hearts and realize that they were all about to proceed on a new adventure, filled with opportunity.
She told her classmates: “Choose to inhale, don’t breathe just to exist,” quoting 13-year-old Mattie Stepanek, who died in 2003 of a genetic condition. She told them to keep listening to that fluttering heart, too.
“Follow its rhythm,” Blusiewicz said, into the promise of the future.
Valedictorian Matthew Murphy reiterated Principal Robert SantaCroce’s earlier call to strive for excellence. Murphy also asked that students not just think of themselves as they progress through their lives, but those less fortunate and struggling, too—wherever they may be in the world around them.
“We are capable of solving a lot of the problems in the world,” Murphy said. He said it is a worthwhile goal to try to make more money and earn a good living for your family. But he also asked students to consider what it would mean if they did not also make the world around them a better place.
Class advisors for the Class of 2011 were Cory Neely and Conrad Snyder.
Officers of the Class of 2011 were:
President: Ruth Blusiewicz
Vice President: Lindsey Dimick
Secretary: Carley Petrey
Historian: Holly Taylor
Publicist: Dimitra Mitsos
Treasurer: Andrew Clark