Two West Roxbury residents took center stage as distinguished graduating students at the Boston Latin School's 376th graduation ceremony Monday night.
Class of 2011 President Nelson Arnous and Valedictorian both spoke to their 382 fellow graduates, and both offered a strong sense of pride in being a part of their class.
"There were nights we weren't sure it was physically possible to get all our work done...See, we always got through these nights laughing. That's something special. We, 2011, are something special," said Arnous. "...We're unstoppable."
"Graduation is a celebration of everyone's hard work, dedication, and achievement," said Tang, who referred to the graduates more than once as "the best class ever."
Both speakers also sprinkled in their share of humor. Tang poked fun at BLS's complex floor numbering system and questioned why their isn't a Room 133 despite the clear existence of 132 and 134. The charismatic Arnous, meanwhile, opened by saying, "Ah yeah. This is good." He also noted that he'd always remember when two male classmates dressed as belly dancers for Halloween more than anything he learned in the classroom.
The mix of class pride and humor from the West Roxbury-based speakers was befitting of the ceremony at large. There were several instances of comic relief to balance out the always solemn occasion of a class's graduation. After Boston Mayor Thomas Menino -- who had to leave the ceremony shortly after his welcome speech -- reflected on the accomplishments of the class and noted that he first met them at an open house for incoming students in 2005, he was presented with an early dismissal slip by Headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta.
Later, after being awarded the inaugural Gerald L. Gitner '62 and Family Award for Outstanding Teaching, Gerald Bilodeau couldn't resist keeping math puns out of his speech.
, a BLS graduate, led students in a round of applause for their supporting families and loved ones, before also turning to a more light-hearted moment noting a similarity between her graduation and this year's: a Boston sports team was competing for a World Championship (in 1985, the Celtics and Lakers were squaring off in the NBA Finals). The difference, she said thankfully, was that this year the graduation ceremony was scheduled early enough (5 p.m.) to avoid any speakers having to ask for the score, as then-Governor Michael Dukakis had to do during her class's ceremony.
The school's Concert Choir and Concert Band provided the music for the ceremony, which ranged from the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" to Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" to Tschesnokoff's "Salvation is Created."
The ceremony was held at the Bank of America Pavilion in South Boston.