Students ready for what's to come

East graduates 370 students at Saturday’s ceremony

Posted 6/14/22


The city has a new set of graduates after seniors from Cranston High School East took to the stage Saturday to receive their diplomas. Principal Sean Kelly congratulated the class …

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Students ready for what's to come

East graduates 370 students at Saturday’s ceremony



The city has a new set of graduates after seniors from Cranston High School East took to the stage Saturday to receive their diplomas. Principal Sean Kelly congratulated the class on their achievements and welcomed local officials, including  Mayor Ken Hopkins, School Committee Chairperson Daniel Wall and Superintendent of Cranston Public Schools Jeannine Nota-Masse to the ceremony.

Nota-Masse spoke to students about the song, “Pomp and Circumstance” and how it evokes emotions because it signifies an ending and beginning of boundless opportunities.

“The educational journey that brought you here today, began when you were five years old, when you started Kindergarten. Maybe you knew some colors, the ABCs, how to spell your name, where you lived, or the words to your favorite story or song,” said Nota-Masse.

Nota-Masse recalled the academic stages students went through – starting with kindergarten and leading to senior year of high school. From the early days when kids were excited to see their nametag on their desk to learning that high school wasn’t really like High School Musical, there was so much that students learned during their educational journey.

“Perhaps you are the first one to graduate from high school in your family or maybe you are part of a family legacy of Thunderbolts from Cranston High School East,” Nota-Masse said. “Maybe this school is part of a rich family tradition, or maybe you arrived at our doorstep a year ago and became part of our family then. Either way, you are here with us today and Cranston High School East is now part of your life’s story.”

Nota-Masse also thanked Kelly for his time at Cranston East as he is leaving the high school for a different position in Cranston Public Schools.

Kelly introduced salutatorian Ghassan Jomaa to address families and friends. He spoke of how surreal and amazing it was to see how far they’ve all come. 

“It goes without saying that there were many hurdles and obstacles we had to overcome to get here. But against all odds, we made it and we should all be proud of our journey,” said Jomaa.

Jomaa said that no matter where life takes everyone, he knows the Cranston East class of 2022 is a hardworking group of individuals who are eager to strive for greatness and excel.

“Cranston East’s Class of 2022 will not just leave their footprint at Cranston East but continue to leave their mark and have a positive impact here in Rhode Island and around the world,” said Jomaa.

Jomaa shared words of advice: Be willing to step outside your comfort zone, be open to spontaneity but and reflect for a moment on where you’re in and where you strive to be.

Following Jomaa, Kelly welcomed Valedictorian Mathilda Corcoran to the stage. She spoke about family and how at East, students chose the teachers who inspired them as well as their friends.

“I know this wasn’t the high school experience we hoped for, but it’s the one we got, and we should be proud of ourselves for being here. I know I’m proud of you. We were given the choice to quit, not show up to online classes, and Photomath the answers to our homework. But we chose to continue to work hard, and that’s what I want to focus on,” said Corcoran.

Senior class presidents Soliya Lach and Dashira Agramonte-Diaz addressed their peers and noted the class’s accomplishments including fundraising enough to make up for the years they lost and adapting to changes in traditional events. They said the class should be proud of not only their individual achievements but how they’ve benefited the class.

“These past four years flew by quicker than we imagined, especially after the unprecedented events of the pandemic which led to us spending a year of our education online,” said the co-presidents.

They said endings are bittersweet but inevitable.

“I am rooting for every single one of you here today, and I hope that you all live your lives without regrets. Graduation is only the beginning, don’t be afraid of the future. My only parting advice is for you all to be good to the people around you, and don’t forget those who have helped you along the way,” said Lach and Agramonte-Diaz.

Kelly addressed the senior class, noting graduation as a remarkable achievement.

“It marks the end of your long journey in public education, from the time you entered Kindergarten those 13 short years ago to the pinnacle at which you now stand.  It will open the door for your bright future and the many exciting chapters of your life still to come,” Kelly said.

He talked about students joining the “Green Line” of Thunderbolt alumni and that the alumni from past classes have built, created and maintained a tradition of excellence. He challenged the 2022 grads to continue that tradition.

“I hope and pray that each of you will find a career that is rewarding, meaningful and enjoyable.  I hope you find your calling and passion, making each day a pleasure.  I hope you can work in a field of your choosing, where work does not seem like work but rather is simply an extension of your interests,” Kelly said.

He shared that most Cranston East students will be attending a two or four year college and collectively garnered over $3 million in known scholarship and financial aid. He said many students will be joining the military – asking those students to stand and be recognized.

Kelly told students it’s okay not to know what they want to do next and that they will find their way.

“It’s about the hard work you do, who you are as a person and the mark you leave on those around you.  It’s about relationships, and communication and making each day better than the last. So work hard, enjoy your career, whatever it may be and be a good person.  If you can do this, you are and will be successful,” Kelly said. 

GREETINGS FROM THE MAYOR: Mayor Kenneth Hopkins had a unique message for the graduates of Cranston East, having spent 27 years as a Thunderbolt. He reflected on those years

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