Rifle salutes seniors
RIFLE- People held onto their straw hats and dabbed at their eyes with tissue in the bleachers at the Rifle Bears stadium Sunday.It was a hot, sunny and windy day for graduation. About 190 students, dressed in blue and gold gowns, marched across the stage to retrieve their diplomas while a staff member read each graduate’s personal message.Most graduates thanked their families, teachers and friends for helping them through the rough spots and cheering them on. A few statements were in Spanish, and some broke with formula in order to get a chuckle out of the crowd.Josiah Cox thanked his parents then added, “You both have easily forged signatures,” a lighthearted comment not unlike those of a few other students.
When the new graduates finished their walks across the stage, a staff member awarded each one with a pink or yellow calla lily, the class flower. The RHS class of 2005 voted for its speaker and selected Anthony Rossilli, a science teacher. He suspected the graduates chose him for his joke-telling ability, he said. He said he was sorry to disappoint, but there would be no jokes Sunday.He said it was too difficult to be funny in front of such a large crowd. Nevertheless, Rossilli started off with a few funny anecdotes. “Remember when I used to stand in the hall in the mornings and yell, ‘free knowledge! Go and get it’? Well, I have news for you – it’s not free anymore,” Rossilli said.Rossilli went on to urge student to seek freedom and ask hard questions. He told them to make sure they stand for something and know what they believe.
“Someone once said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ I submit to you that the unexamined life is dangerous,” Rossilli said. He told the graduates that if they don’t define their lives themselves, they are at risk of allowing others to define it for them.Rossilli topped his speech off with an off-key rendition of a Whitney Houston song.”I hope life treats you kind and you have all you’ve dreamed of,” Rossilli sang. “Come on, everyone – And I will always love you … ” The crowd joined in for the final chorus.Eddie Kreimier, the valedictorian and senior class president, spoke next. He compared the new graduates to waves, referencing “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom.
“The waves were out in the water, enjoying the sun. Enjoying the wind,” Kreimier’s reference to the large gust that came up just then was met with laughter. Kreimier explained that one wave saw the waves in front of him crash into the shore and became afraid. When the wave turned to the one behind him in terror, that wave asked what the big deal was.”‘You don’t understand,’ the wave said. ‘We’re all going to crash and become nothing.’ The other wave said, ‘No. You don’t understand. You’re not a wave; you’re part of the ocean.’ As each wave contributes to the ocean,” Kreimier told his classmates, “so we will contribute to the world.”After all of the graduates had walked across the stage, Kreimier returned to the podium to address his class for the last time. “Rifle High School class of 2005, out.” With that he and the rest of the graduates tossed their blue and gold mortarboards into the sky.
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