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Ossining Class of 2011 Celebrates the Future

OSSINING, N.Y. – While Monica Cioffi  sat beneath a big tent listening to classmates and administrators speak about the past four years at Ossining High School, she considered what the next four years would bring.

"It's bittersweet, but I'm ready to move on," Cioffi, who plans to study dance at Pittsburgh University, said Friday night at the school’s graduation ceremony.

Classmate Joe Panaro said he was ready for new experiences.

"I'm really excited. It's been a fun four years and hopefully I move on to good things and come back and visit," he said.

Principal Joshua Mandel noted that after four years of high school, graduates were good at forming relationships. He challenged them to use this skill to make the world a better place.

Student speaker James Tolley said he would always cherish his time spent with friends roaming around Ossining, playing basketball and laughing on the floor until he cried.

"Be true to your friends because in the darkest day they will be the ones to guide you to the light," he said.

Valedictorian Hayley Zullow encouraged graduates to lose their fear of what lies ahead because one's destination in life is never certain.

After the speeches, graduates' names were called out one by one. Though many parents could not fit underneath the crowded tent behind the high school, that didn’t dampen the spirit of the night. Families carrying babies and balloons clapped and cheered for their teen sons and daughters and their friends.

"It's not an ending but a beginning," said graduate Aimee Hernandez, who will be attending Berkeley College in California next year. "I'm looking forward to college, meeting new friends and new experiences."

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