WARWICK, RI — The 229 graduates of Toll Gate High’s Class of 2019 celebrated challenges overcome and absent friends Thursday night at Community College of Rhode Island’s field house, with smiles, high-fives and the enthusiastic support of friends and family.
“Over the past four years, we have made countless memories,” said Salutatorian Rebecca Carcieri, in the classroom or staying out late Friday nights with friends. “We have all gotten looks from teachers when we have shown up late to school with ice coffees in our hands,” and she said, enjoyed concerts, proms and sports together. Cacieri noted that the class has also contended with their own mortality following the death of Toll Gate High Principal Steven Chrabaszcz in 2016, their sophomore year, “And then, the heart-wrenching and shockinig death of our dear friend and classmate, Gianna Cirella. The death of Gianna has left a space in our hearts and our graduating class. I know that Gianna is with us all the time.”
“Now, we must delve into our truest passions, because it brings us joy,” Carcieri said, ending her speech with a quote from Ella Woods, “It is with courage, compassion and conviction and a strong sense of self that we take our next step into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people, and most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself. Congratulations, Class of 2019, we did it.”