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Chaney ’10 grads told to focus on the positive

Published: Fri, June 11, 2010 @ 12:05 a.m.

Related stories: Campbell salutatorian: Difficulties made result rewarding; East High speaker: 'Follow your passion'





Diplomas presented: 162.

Class colors: Red and gray.

Scholarship and grant totals: $1.2 million.

School milestone: 110th commencement.

Mascot: Cowboy.

Graduating in just three years: Lisa Adams, Najiyah Burgess, Karesia London, Royona Edmondson and Darkela Parker.

Mallory Kimble said she’s learned a “valuable life lesson” during her years in the Youngstown city schools, and she passed it along to her classmates graduating from Chaney High School this year.

“You need to be your own best advocate,” the 2010 class salutatorian told seniors during commencement Thursday at Stambaugh Auditorium.

You may find yourself in a difficult position somewhere down the road, and no one should be a stronger advocate for you than yourself, Kimble said.

She also offered some advice she said was given to her by Wendy Webb, the district’s superintendent, who is retiring in December.

“If you focus on the negative, then your critics have won,” Kimble said.

Learn to forgive and move on, and learn to be your own best advocate, she said.

Today marks the beginning of adult life, Sarah Scarazzo, class valedictorian, told the graduates.

“There is no textbook to tell us what the next step should be,” she said. “We have to get ready, and we have to show up.”

She suggested that deciding who you want to be should be the first step, saying the graduates should look ahead to 2035 when they will be watching their own children graduate. Ask yourself now how you want to get to that point and what contributions you will have made by then, she said.

Never stop learning, look for solutions, keep your family close, volunteer in your community, learn integrity, honesty, loyalty and commitment, keep teaching and stay positive, she told her classmates.

“Pay it forward,” she added, suggesting random acts of kindness toward others. Finally, love and respect yourself, she said.

Scarazzo wasn’t the only speaker advising the students to look far into their future.

“I’m advising you to start thinking about retiring,” offered Judge Robert Milich of Youngstown Municipal Court, the commencement speaker.

You need to know where you’re going to be, and you need to start planning your life, he said, citing a vast difference in prices of a number of items from the time he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1960 to today as evidence of how things change.

Party today, he told the graduates, “but tomorrow, start to think about your retirement.”

You’ve got a good background, you come from a good school, and there are plenty of opportunities out there, Judge Milich said.

“There is greatness in this room ... but you still have to prepare,” Webb told the graduating class.

“Congratulations. You have captured my heart. I love you, but above all else, I respect you,” she said.


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