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Rye seniors head into the future

The seniors at Rye High School thundered into the next phase of their lives after graduating Friday night at the school’s gymnasium.

Hundreds of the graduates’ friends and families flooded into the gym for the commencement ceremony that remained spirited throughout the night.

The motto for the Thunderbolts’ class of 2017 is “Every ending is the beginning of something new,” and that sentiment was echoed in speeches during the ceremony.

In his address, salutatorian Brandon Johnson reminisced about the first day of high school and the eagerness that it brought for him and his classmates.

“Now here we are, the end of high school,” Johnson said while thanking those who helped him and the other Rye seniors make it to high school graduation. “Today marks an end to a great four years of memories we have had at Rye High School, but also a new beginning.”

Valedictorian Samuel Wolyn also thanked the support system that guided his path to graduation, including parents, teachers and his fellow classmates.

“Here we diverge paths and travel separate ways,” Wolyn said, while wishing a bright future for his classmates.

Peter Kulsziski, a 1983 Rye alumnus who served as the commencement speaker Friday night, told the seniors they are all unique, just like a thunderbolt.

“You are full of energy, and you are going to make those around you feel thunderstruck,” Kulsziski said.

Kulsziski had the graduates shout “Thank you” at everybody sitting in the stands of the gym and also asked the seniors, clad in purple robes and caps, to turn around so their parents could shoot pictures.

In his speech, Kulsziski shared some of the things he’s learned throughout his life.

“Avoid mirroring someone else’s life. Underestimating your uniqueness could be fatal to the world,” he said. “Do a random act of kindness. Always try something at least one time. Be supportive. Give, and yet feel free to ask. Look at adversity as a speedblock and not a blockade. Surround yourself with positive people. Take comfort in knowing that everything you are and everything you are about to become started right here.”

Twenty of the Rye graduates earned scholarships; most of them more than one.

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