While the Elwood-John H. Glenn High School band played “Pomp and Circumstance,” and proud family and friends looked on with cameras in hand, the members of the graduating class of 2012 marched in their processional lines into the middle school auditorium to celebrate the district’s 50th Commencement Exercise.

The ceremony began with welcomes and warm wishes for the graduates from High School Principal Dr. Vincent Mulieri and Superintendent of Schools Peter Scordo, followed by a message of congratulations from Board of Education President Joseph Fusaro.  

Ribu Mathew, the valedictorian of the Class of 2012, and Julie Hemphill, the class salutatorian, addressed the audience. Ribu urged his classmates to “Be happy with what you do. Happiness is about doing something you truly enjoy.” Julie told her peers, “We are prepared with the values of hard work, honesty, and kindness. I wish the very best for every one of you. Congratulations.”

Keynote speaker Jacqueline Maguire then addressed the class. Ms. Maguire, a ’92 graduate of Glenn, joined the FBI as a special agent in 2000 and was the primary case agent who coordinated the investigation into the five terrorists who hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001. Ms. Maguire gave a moving speech about heroes and how the definition of a hero changed after September 11. “Today is the perfect day to honor your personal heroes. Take the time today to acknowledge them,” she said.

Following Ms. Maguire’s speech, members of the graduating class were then invited to the podium, a moment they had waited four years for. As their names were being announced, students crossed the stage, received their diplomas, officially making them high school graduates and alumni of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School.

The 50th Commencement ceremony came to an end in a bittersweet gesture of excitement for their future and the realization that their special time at Glenn had come to an end along with it. Graduates threw their caps in the air and went on to celebrate the moment with friends and family.