White Plains High School held its 115th Graduation Exercises on Thursday, June 21, at the Westchester County Center, graduating 492 students. The graduation exercises featured a salutatory address from Adam Jaffe, who recalled receiving his first official White Plains Schools ID card when he was age 9. "I remember that my ID card had '2012' at the bottom of it and I thought that was so far in the future," he said. "That was half a life ago, but it feels like just a few weeks ago."
Valedictorian Benjamin Van Doren, the high school's first Intel Science national finalist and an avid student of aviary science, compared his classmates to the cerulian warbler, a tiny bird that leaves the security of its home in the northeast United States each August and heads for South America. In the spring the warbler returns to the northeast, "not guided by parents or friends. They have to trust their instincts that there will be a suitable place for them when they finally land."
Van Doren is graduating with a 5.459 grade-point average and is headed to Cornell University in the fall. Jaffe, who earned a 5.287 GPA, will be attending Washington University at St. Louis.
Donna McLaughlin, a member of the Board of Education who is bowing out after her 15th year on the Board, addressed the Class of 2012, advising them to understand that life is full of changes, including graduation. "One thing you can count on," she said. "There will always be change."
Interim High School Principal Diana Knight, who is retiring this year, told students that the Class of 2012 "left me with many wonderful memories and I will miss you all."