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We have waited this long; we can wait a little longer 

Matthew Janger

Matthew Janger, principal at Arlington High School since 2013, delivered these remarks to the June 1 commencement.

Welcome to the 158th annual graduation ceremony for Arlington High School. My role today is to begin this event with acknowledgment, gratitude and (hopefully) a few words of wisdom. 

We respectfully acknowledge that the Town of Arlington is situated on the ancestral lands of the Massachusett Tribe. This tribe of indigenous peoples has given its name to our Commonwealth. We honor and pay our respects to the rich history, culture and enduring presence of the Massachusett Tribe and their descendants, who continue to inhabit and uphold their heritage in these territories today.

We have so much to be thankful for today. We have come together here after four years of change and growth. Please join me in thanking:

  • Parents, guardians, and family members who support you;
  • Teachers and paraprofessionals who have taught and cared for you;
  • The addministrative team -- Mr. DiLoreto, Ms. Tivnan, Mr. McKnight, and Mr. McCarthy, Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Forsythe, who step in with support and leadership to keep us running;
  • Our district leadership, Dr. Homan, Dr. Ford Walker and our School Committee;
  • Our custodial and facilities crew who are learning to get the new building running smoothly while keeping the old building from falling apart;
  • Our teacher and student volunteers who have helped us get ready after the rain;
  • Ms. Donohue and Ms. Abdelnour our yearbook advisers;
  • Ms. Toupin your class Adviser;
  • Mr. Knowlton, who has lead the graduation team this year; and
  • I must acknowledge our administrative assistants, who make sure we can do our jobs, and who have rallied this month to keep the senior events running smoothly, Morgan Cummings, Cathy Meehan, Nancy Caccavaro, Potoula Angelakis, and Erika Kuno.
AHS rebuild to conclude

Eleven years ago, Arlington High School created the Future Building Committee, pun intended. Our goal was to create a vision of the future for our future building. In 14 months, this building project will conclude with the opening of the athletics wing and the new playing fields. I find myself saying, I can’t wait. 

But I can wait. 

Students - For the last four or so years, this class has navigated remote learning, construction projects, floods, heat and crumbling buildings. At times, many of you have said, I can’t wait until graduation. And today, we all have a chance to celebrate your effort, your relationships, your persistence and your futures. We have looked forward to this day.

But we can wait a little longer.

The memories you made here are precious, good or bad, they will make you who you will become. 

Parents and caregivers: You have carried the load of working, feeding, carpooling, worrying, conferencing, open housing, sporting events, performances, practices and more. At times, you have probably said, I can’t wait.

But we can wait a little longer.

That was the good stuff. The things that we will treasure, that make family, whether by birth or by choice. 

I was at a meeting on May 1, and someone asked the group, what do you like best about May? And, without a pause I said, June 1. May is a crazy month for school principals. It’s easy to wish for graduation.

But I realized that I have maybe 30 more Mays. I reminded myself to stop wishing my life away. This May has been about average, with wonderful events, lots of details and more disciplinary issues than the rest of the year. And, each day I said, I CAN wait until graduation. Each day rather than TGIF I thought TGIT, Thank God It’s Today. It sounds silly, but I had a good month.

Congratulations, Class of 2024! Today, I want to wish you TGIT, Thank God It’s Today. And whatever you are wishing for or hoping for, keep looking forward, and say, I CAN wait and enjoy the ride. 

This viewpoint was published Sunday, June 2, 2024.

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