Guest speaker Rachel Sterne told the crowd Saturday at the Dobbs Ferry High School graduation that their community was a lot more than a town.
"Dobbs Ferry is not only a town, it's a family," she said at the Waterfront Park ceremony. "You will always remember the feeling of family in Dobbs Ferry."
The 2001 graduate came back to her alma mater to give a speech to the 98 graduates lined up in their blue and white gowns
Sincegraduating, she became the founder and CEO of GroundReport.com. She was also recently named the Chief Digital Officer of New York City by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Perhaps the best advice Sterne gave the graduates was to stay passionate. Sterne told students to follow their dreams and be open to anything and everything.
"The job I have now didn't exist 10 years ago," she said.
Family, faculty and friends filled the crowded park as parents snapped pictures of their children's monumental day. The commencement ceremony started off with a playing of Fanfare by the middle and high school band followed by the Processional. The Dobbs Ferry class of 2011 received a standing ovation from the crowd as they took their seats.
Valedictorian David Muoser spoke to the audience and his fellow graduates about recognizing beauty. He wondered aloud whether or not people recognize the beauty of everyday life.
"Today that job is easy," Muoser said. "The beauty is apparent. Just look around you, we're all blessed to be here."
Muoser spoke fondly of the memories he and his classmates share while also looking ahead to the future.
"Every single one of you should be proud of what you've accomplished and celebrate what we've achieved together," Muoser said. "The task I put forth to all of you today is to try to stop yourself once, just once, each day and take a step back to recognize what isn't obviously appreciated."
Dobbs Ferry Board of Education President Jeffrey O'Donnell gave the graduates his advice for succeeding in the next phase of life.
"The ability to question, to not accept the easy response, to probe, to fully understand and to ask the difficult questions," O'Donnell said. "This is a quality that will serve you well."
In the Salutatorian speech, George Epstein admitted to the audience just how difficult the process of writing a speech actually was.
"In my opinion, having a good GPA does not mean I'm a born orator," Epstein said.
Epstein paused with a laugh as the Metro-North train roared by just a few feet away before continuing his speech.
"Whether you're going to college, going to the work force or pursuing some other ambition there will be challenges you will have to face," Epstein said.
It is these very challenges that the Dobbs Ferry High School faculty assured all of those in attendance that the graduates will undoubtedly conquer.
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