Ridgewood says farewell to Class of 2012
Graduates pack the gym floor at 50th Commencement at Ridgewood High School in Norridge Monday evening. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
What is your advice to the Class of 2012?
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:44PM
Family and friends packed the Romito Athletic Field House Monday to witness the graduation of Ridgewood High School Class of 2012.
Giving the senior address, Joanne Dynak thanked the faculty and staff for providing an environment that cultivated young talent while inspiring hope and raising spirits.
“Thank you for being you,” she said.
To her fellow classmates, Dynak provided a few suggestions for facing the future.
“Do your homework,” she noted, adding that being prepared also is vital in the working world.
“Explore,” she continued. “Find that one thing that brings you excitement and fulfillment.”
Dynak also spoke of the importance of giving back.
“Life, like school, is an exchange,” she said.
Dynak urged her classmates to use their future experiences to make the world a better place, whether that experience comes from receiving the Purple Heart (for military-related wounds suffered), teaching someone to read or being a stand-up comic who stands up for a reason.
“You could be …passionate artists, an economist, a YouTube sensation,” Dynak said. “But for this night, you have every reason to be proud.”
Robert Piton suggested crafting a life plan.
Piton, a member of the Class of 1993 and a senior portfolio manager, was the guest speaker.
“Keep a notebook; write down your hopes and dreams; how you want to be remembered; and set goals,” he said.
On the topic of energy, Piton warned the class to stay away from “downers,” those people who sap one’s energy.
He also warned about the evils of using credit cards to satisfy instant gratification.
“Think about how many hours you’ll have to work just to pay off the interest,” he said.
As for continuing one’s education, Piton said he has taken advantage of the free, online classes offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But what really brought out a resounding reaction was his advice to stay away from “buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like.”
Graduate Jaime Horan said, after the ceremony, that she felt a little bit older.
“This is a huge deal,” she said. “And I couldn’t have done it without my teachers and my family.”
Another graduate, Christopher Herba, said he was looking forward to continuing his education at Triton College in River Grove.
Although he hasn’t decided which of his interests to pursue, Herba said “I’m ready for the next step.”
Agnieszka Chmielowski said she felt “great.”
“This is such a big deal,” said the soon-to-be student at the University of Illinois. “I can’t wait to challenge myself even more.
“Oh, and eat more hot dogs. I love hot dogs,” she said with a laugh.