Charter Tech artistic coordinator Lew London invited several students to perform songs about graduation and achievement as the Class of 2012 received its diplomas.
“We are a school for the performing arts, and it is a wonderful tag,” London said during the ceremony at the Dr. Dominick A. Potena Performing Arts Center in Margate. “These guys are not just graduating students; they are graduating artists. They communicate through their art, and very often you get to know them better that way than face to face with them.”
Valedictorian Mariah Ritchie, of Wildwood, communicated both through a vocal performance and through her speech. In the speech, she thanked her classmates at Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts for using their creativity to make her life better.
“Classmates have given me the confidence I needed to have my own voice,” she said. “All of us have found a way to express our true selves through our voice, dance, acting and filming. Some of us had the unique ability of taking a complication and making it into their own sitcom. I would laugh, and suddenly my day didn’t seem as discouraging as it had previously. Their talents have inspired me to take a bigger risk in my road to becoming a performer.”
Ritchie, who is headed to University of the Arts in Philadelphia and will major in vocal studies, also thanked her mother and several Charter Tech teachers.
She urged her classmates from the Somers Point school to challenge themselves.
“Do what scares you,” she said. “Life isn’t easy, our parents and teachers have sung that to us in so many different ways that you’d think we’d get it by now. But some of you aren’t good with surprises and are too quick to give up. You can give up a dream or a lifelong goal, and sure you can give up on the future, but never give up on yourself.”
Ritchie asked her classmates to remember Charter Tech after graduation.
“Now that the moment has come, I think we’re all really happy, and really scared,” she said. “I’m hoping that while we are moving away from each other and onto this new road that we don’t move away from the memories we’ve encased within the heart of this school and within ourselves. I don’t think that we were all meant to do great things that will forever change our society, or help the world as we know it. I do believe that we were born to be great in how we succeed, and in what we succeed.”
Contact David Simpson:
College: University of the Arts, Pa.
Major: Vocal studies
For reasons of personal privacy, the 2012 salutatorian does not wish to be publicly identified.
College: University of the Arts
Major: Musical Theatre