Remarks as prepared for delivery of Mayor Brian Arrigo to the Revere High School Class of 2016 on June 9, 2016
Good evening, class of 2016!
It is my honor and privilege as a Revere High School graduate, and as Mayor of this great city, to welcome you in to the family of RHS alumni.
18 years ago, I was sitting where you are, graduating from Revere High. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember who spoke at my graduation, or what they said.
I do remember that when I was a senior in high school, your outstanding superintendent Dr. Kelly was actually my math teacher. I’m going to guess that if I told her when I was 18 that I’d go on to be the Mayor, she probably would have laughed at me.
Well, 18 years later, I now serve as chair of the school committee. And one of my favorite moments as Mayor so far was sitting in a school committee meeting and noticing a math error on one of Dr. Kelly’s spreadsheets. Now, if I spotted that error as a student, I’m not sure she would have been so quick to update her spreadsheet. But now that I’m Mayor, I think she had to agree that I was right.
Life certainly has its funny moments.
So, that was my chance to be nostalgic. Now, let’s turn the focus to you.
To all the students who have reached the finish line: congratulations. It wasn’t always easy, but you persevered through challenges big and small to reach this moment.
Some of you overcame incredible personal obstacles to make it to this stage today. All of you worked your way through four years of rigorous education, where you were held to the highest standards you’ll find in any school district in the country.
You haven’t just completed four years of high school and earned a diploma: you’ve done so in the #1 state in the nation for education, and in a school district consistently recognized as one of the most accomplished in the state. Give yourselves a round of applause!
To the parents, grandparents, guardians, family members and friends in attendance: thank you.
When you’re 18 years old you don’t always want to admit it, but none of us could have made it through without the love and support of those around us. They will continue to serve as an important layer of support as you start the next chapter in your life’s story.
So you’re the author of your own story right now, and your fate is very much in your hands.
Your experience at Revere High is a platform on which you can go off in to the world and do great things. When you go off to college, or the military, or the workforce, don’t forget that you are fortunate to come from this community. Graduating from Revere High equips you with knowledge and experiences that few communities can match.
You come from an incredibly diverse home city, one where people from around the world come to push themselves to achieve the American dream. You walked the halls with students who speak many languages, practice many faiths, and hold many different kinds of beliefs.
You’ve studied alongside the sons and daughters of union laborers, small business owners, police officers, soldiers, nurses, teachers, and people who work 2 or 3 jobs to be able to support their families.
This kind of education can’t be bought for $60,000 a year, and it can’t be taught in any curriculum.
Your education in Revere gives you the perspective of someone who’s able to understand and empathize with many different kinds of people, whether they be rich or poor, native-born or an immigrant, a fourth-generation Revere resident like myself or someone who just moved here from out of state.
This knowledge, this experience, and this ability to empathize will be incredibly important as you go off in to the world.
You may wish to go in to public service; you might want to become a teacher, or a doctor. You might want to open your own small business, or make a splash in the world of science.
Whatever you do, this platform Revere High built for you will be a great advantage for you over your peers.
When you are studying alongside students from other communities who haven’t experienced this kind of diversity, you’ll notice how much richer and deeper your understanding is of the world around you.
So be proud of your home town. I hope you’ll never forget where you came from, and that you’ll want to give back to Revere when you’re doing amazing things out in the real world.
You’re going to go off to many different places, and gain a whole new set of experiences. Some of you will go off to the other side of the country to study and you might never come back.
But some of you will feel the pull of home.
I hope that will be the case for many of you; Revere is a strong community because of people who have stayed here and raised their families here for generations.
So when you’re ready to make your splash - start your business here. Raise your family here. Serve the public here. I need to hear from young, talented people like you to keep this city moving forward.
It’s my job to make sure we’re creating the kind of city you want to live in, and you want to share your talents with. We are hard at work making sure this is a community that you can be proud of, and a community that lives up to the talents of our students, teachers, parents and administrators.
Thank you, congratulations again, and go set the world aflame.