Cheers to the Class of 2018 Monroe-Woodbury to graduate over 575; Tuxedo says farewell to 28 students

Monroe Woodbury’s Kendall Fiorianti: “….I’m leaving behind a chapter in my life and continuing on my journey to make the world a better place.”Cheers to the Class of 2018

By Nancy Kriz
CENTRAL VALLEY-The weather is expected to cooperate tonight, June 22, for the over 575 Monroe-Woodbury High School graduates who will conclude their 13 years of public education on the school’s football field .
Students will be decked out in purple and white caps and gowns, many with honor cord adornments, and special messages emblazoned on their mortarboards.
Parents, family and friends will gather in the bleachers, ready to watch that one moment --- actually comprised of four things --- that happens so very quickly but represents so very much.
And that’s the reading of their children’s names, the “walk” across the stage, the handshakes and the receiving of their diplomas.
Those 30 or so seconds represent the beginning of the next phase of their lives.
Among those students is Harriman resident Kendall Fiorianti.
“It’s going to feel bittersweet,” Fiorianti said. “I’m going to be leaving a lot behind in high school. But, I’m going to bring things Monroe-Woodbury has taught me with me. I will bring maturity and a positive outlook. I went through a hard time my freshman and sophomore years. But the administration and my teachers really helped me to have a perspective with more positivity.”
Fiorianti will attend SUNY Delhi this fall as a nursing major. She plans to become a pediatric oncology nurse.
“My dad is a vascular surgeon and my aunt is a nurse and I saw how they treated their patients,” she said. “They inspired me.”
Fiorianti was a member of the track and field team for four years, part of the shot put, discus and javelin squads.
“They (team members and coaches) were like a second family to me” she said. “We spent every day of the week together, so we saw our strengths and weaknesses and helped each other out.”
During her high school career, Fiorianti volunteered at Sacred Heart Church, where she helped in the soup kitchen and during Christmas and Easter in addition to teaching in its sixth-grade CCD program.
She also volunteered at St. Paul Christian Education Center, and helped during its summer enrichment program by teaching preschoolers basic concepts of colors, shapes and letters.
Fiorianti was a Monroe Girl Scout for 13 years and is a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Her sustainable community project was creating a garden at VFW Lake Region Memorial Post 8858 in Harriman.
“I feel like through Girl Scouts, girls gain more confidence, have more friends, learn and experience more than an average person can,” she said. “I’ve been with them (her troop) since kindergarten. They’re the sisters I never had.”
As she’s waiting for her name to be called, what might Fiorianti be thinking about?
“Monroe-Woodbury is very diverse,” she said. “It’s helped me to realize all the cultures around us are really combined and makes us one, big community. I learned a lot of patience, that’s important for nursing. I learned that sometimes you have to let things go because it’s not worth the hassle. And, be kind to everyone you meet because you don’t know what they’re going through every day.”
Like others, Fiorianti has a long list of people to thank.
“I want to say thank you to all of my teachers, Coach Mpaskiaos, and my research teacher Mr. Verboys,” she said. “They were really good to me. Mr. Williams is always there for me too, he saved me from a lot of stress. My Girl Scout leader, Miss Tanya, I want to thank her for everything she’s done, taking us across the world to Europe, having patience with us and raising us like she’s our second mom.”
Her thanks extend to parents John Fiorianti and Katrina Powers.
“My dad, I want to thank him for being very strict with me because if I didn’t have the obedience that I had, I don’t think I would have come out so strong in the endi she said.
She expects her mother to be teary eyed tonight.
“My mom, I’m happy to have her independence and patience,” Fiorianti said. “I’ve lived with her most of my life. She did everything she could for us and I don’t know how to thank her for that. She’s just the best mom. She made me feel very secure.”
Her advice for current students is simple.
“Never give up, always keep your head up, things will get better, even if you’re struggling,” she said. “There’s something for everyone in the future. Work hard and never give up on your dreams.”
And while tonight may be bittersweet, Fiorianti said that’s balanced with sweetness too.
“I don’t think I’ll be upset, I think I’ll be looking around me and thinking how grateful and lucky I am to have had an education here for four years of my life,” she said. “I think the friendships we’ve had are so strong that we’ll definitely see each other in the future. It’s also a sweet moment because I’m leaving behind a chapter in my life and continuing on my journey to make the world a better plaKce.”
Kendall Fiorianti
Photo supplied