FHS Class Of 2017 Told To ‘Be Bold, Be Ready’ At Graduation Ceremony

The FHS graduating Class of 2017 was 501 students strong.

The Franklin High School Class of 2017 was exhorted to “be bold, be ready” by an alumna at the June 16 graduation ceremony.

The 501 graduates received the advice from 1997 graduate Zalenda Cyrille, a senior program manager at Chantilly, Va.-based Vencore.

“Be bold, be ready, go out into this world and be your authentic self,” she said. “Be true to you. Your itme is now. Your future is in your hands.”

Also making major speeches during the ceremony was Salutatorian Rohit Aita, Valedictorian Melissa Tu, Class President Jada Edwards and school principal Cheryl Clark.

“Be bold in your convictions,” Cyrille told the graduates. “Absorb as much as you can. Listen, learn, then do what is right.”

Keep an open mind because as you go through life, you’re going to be exposed to so many ideas and concepts that you never thought imaginable,” she said. “There is always something new to learn.”

“Be bold in learning about the diversity this world has to offer,” she said. “Embrace it.”

“Now that were bold, its time to be ready,” Cyrille said. “Be ready for what comes next. Wherever the next chapter takes you, be it college or military or the workforce, know that Franklin provided you with a solid foundation.”


“As you approach this next phase, also be ready to put yourself first,” she said. “Don’t be selfish, be self-first.”

Cyrille said the graduates should also be prepared to fail.

“At the same time, be ready to make mistakes, and trust me, you will,” she said. “You will fail, you will lose, you will suck. Accept it. Be ready for it, but don’t let it knock you down.”

“Be ready to surprise yourself, failure isn’t permanent,” she said. “You have the power to change things, and more importantly, you have the opportunity to grow from it.”

“You are in control of your destiny, you are the master of your fate,” she said.

Aita, the Salutatorian, told his classmates that “graduating high school is the first step in getting closer to our dreams, whether it’s becoming a professional athlete, musician, artist or engineer, or one of the other possible beautiful careers. This ceremony is a small yet beautiful reminder in the journey of life that hard work pays off in many ways, whether it’s giving back to those loved ones who have helped us so much along the way, or the satisfaction of proving you can achieve your dream, no matter what the challenge.”

“As we embark upon our own individual journeys and become part of the future of the world, we must also at the same time recognize our access to education as a privilege,” he said. “Many of our peers have not had the same access, and recognizing this disparity should motivate us to be selfless and proactive future leaders of this world.”

Valedictorian Tu said Franklin High School, the home of the Warriors, “is now the home of tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers, musicians and much more. Today we are here to celebrate our triumphs, our achievements and our victories, both individually and as a school.”

Tu told her classmates that while she was convinced they all would succeed, “the journey to the top won’t be an easy one. I hope in the years to come that you make mistakes, because making mistakes means that you’re trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself and changing the world.”

“So that is my wish for all of us, make mistakes,” she said. “Make glorious and awe-inspiring mistakes. Whatever it is you’re afraid of doing, do it. And wherever we may end up, we will always have a Warrior within us.”

Edwards, the Class President, said the Class of 2017 is “overflowing with innovative individuals who are prepared to accept the challenges that life has to offer. Having accomplished phenomenal achievements throughout high school, we can leave confident that we are prepared to journey into the next phase of life. Though we have experienced trials and tribulations, understand that they keep us humble.”

“I wish each of you a prosperous and promising life,” she said.

School principal Clark told the graduates that “true success is measured by an individual’s persistence, character, passions and humility.”

Following are some scenes from the day:

2017 FHS Graduation


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