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Graduation 2017: North graduates start new journey

May 24, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

North Fort Myers High School's 388 seniors accepted their high school diplomas at the Lee Civic Center Sunday at a ceremony that both looked forward and back at the accomplishments of their school careers.

The smiling soon-to-be graduates walked from Whaley Hall to the Civic Center, where an arena full of friends and family awaited.

Taylor Nation, senior class president, thanked the parents and teachers for being so supportive and told her fellow graduates the future is now.

Article Photos

Angela Arroyo hugs classmate Bryce Jarvis just before they both graduated from North Fort Myers High School Sunday afternoon. To view more photos, see our Facebook page.


"What was our future is now our present. As we go our separate ways, we will always remember the times we shared and memories we made," Nation said. "Always remain humble and remember where you came from. This is the beginning of the rest of our lives."

Vince Marcucci said the four years went past at a decent speed "as Spanish class really slowed it down," and now it was time to go out and make a difference.

"The future look unique for all of us. We will all go forward with our bold plan of action, but it's important to remember those plans stem from the lessons we learned in high school," Marcucci said. "Respect, courage, pride and endurance have been taught by the office staff, coaches and especially our teachers."

Kelsi Bevington spoke of two students, Hope DelBrocco and Jaya Rucker, who died before they could graduate, and of individuality, for which she used a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the greatest accomplishment," Bevington said. "This school is not only about being an individual, it's about true to yourself and not shying away from risk or pain."

After all the diplomas were awarded, Principal Debbie Diggs shared some words of wisdom. She said you can accomplish anything, no matter how ambitious your dreams may be.

"Hold close to you the values that exemplify respect, pride, tradition, and success. As an adult, these qualities will serve you well in your journey," Diggs said. "Seniors, your future awaits you. Your time is now."

Those who earned their diplomas spoke hopefully about the future, but also looked back on an amazing four years in which they grew so much, both physically and in maturity.

"It's been so much fun, full of friends, making new friends and enjoying teachers, it's been a fun time," said Catelin Niemynski , who will attend Keiser University to study occupational therapy. "I'm going to miss my friends because they're going all over the state for college."

"It's really crazy we made it through four years of high school and now we're supposed to be adults," said Abigail Lawless, who said she overcame shyness during her four years. "I met great people, had great teachers and my friends are graduating with me."

For the parents, they expressed pride in their children for reaching this milestone, while also wonder at where all the time went.

"It's exciting. I'm hopeful for the future and I'm very proud of her. It's gone by very fast," said Beth Woodward, who watched her daughter, Meghan, graduate. "I just want her to be happy in whatever success she finds. Her happiness is all that matters."

"It's a great milestone for her and she's been looking forward to it so she can move on to college," said John Bement, who saw daughter Alyssa graduate. "She's grown a couple inches and into the wonderful lady she is today. I don't think four years ago she would have been thinking of college. Now she's ready."

"It's a wonderful thing. She's a good kid whose been accepted to Florida State. She's worked very hard to get that. We're very proud of her," said Mark Robbins, whose daughter Hannah graduated. "She's become a very beautiful young woman and she's my baby girl. We were redoing a picture of her graduating kindergarten. Time flies. It seems like just yesterday."



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