Thomas J. Corcoran graduated 228 students during its 47th Commencement Ceremony held Thursday, June 21, 2012 at the Mulroy Civic Center in downtown Syracuse.
Families, faculty and supporters filled the civic center with balloons, flowers and excitement as this year’s graduating class celebrated individual and collective milestones. This class is the first required to pass five regents exams with a score of 65 or higher to earn their regents diplomas.
This class has also earned more regents diplomas than recent classes according to Principal Leo Cosgrove in his address to graduating seniors.
“This was really a great class,” said teachers like Ms. Malley-Donovan as she stood applauding for several of her students as they walked across the stage.
Several students including Salutatorian Riley MacKnight echoed encouragements to fellow classmates to not procrastinate and to use as many resources available to them.
Resources and programs such as The International Baccalaureate program, AVID, W.E.B Du Bois Scholars and Say Yes have made it possible for Corcoran to graduate 24 AVID students, 21 IB students and 213 Say Yes eligible students.
Tracee Jennings, a graduating AVID participant pursuing Fashion Buying and Merchandising says, “don’t be ordinary, use the resources out there. I did.”
Megan Root, an English teacher at Corcoran, congratulated her AVID student Bradley Addison who will be going to OCC to study Civil Engineering.
“He works hard, is personable and always asks for help,” she said. “I tell my students to always ask for help and I will be there.”
Outside the Civic Center, a sea of red caps and gowns were accompanied by crying families, balloons and groups of friends huddling and cheering together showing their diplomas and awards.
William Wright, who lost his mother at an early age, cites teacher like Megan Root and Christina Sikorski for being like family to him during his high school years.
“Some are like mother figures and filled this hole I had. They were some of the best relationships and best parts of high school for me,” said Wright. Wright will be going to Le Moyne College to study history and won a $1,000 Superintendent Scholarship and First Student Scholarship -which he sees he “didn’t seven see coming.”
Other families such as the Hamlins gathered and cried in a large huddle, overjoyed that their son Mathew could walk the stage after battling bouts with Burkitt’s Lymphoma which attacks the lymphatic system and can double tumors in size in nearly 24 hours.
“I did this for grandfather Leo who didn’t get to see me walk across the stage,” Mathew said. “Now, I just want to go to OCC, learn to be anything, a cancer doctor. Anything. I believe I can do anything after this.”
The praises still continued on Madison Street even an hour after commencement had ended.
Emmanuel Rowser who will be heading to Lackewonna College stood outside with his father, Samuel Rowser from On Point for College already beginning the discussion for what is to come next.
“I definitely had to graduate,” said Emmanuel Rowser in serious laughter. He said with both parents involved in education, the pressure was there but so was the help.
“Five down, two to go,” said parent Sam Rowser.
— Article and photos by Ruthnie Angrand, The Stand Community Correspondent