110 graduate from OV high school in 2012

BRANDON — “Let’s face it — Otters are awesome.”
And according to Otter Valley Class of 2012 Valedictorian Matt Dier, the school’s furry mascot possesses many traits that his classmates should take with them into the future.
That was the thrust of Dier’s speech at OV’s June 16 commencement ceremony in the school’s gymnasium, where 110 new graduates moved on to the next stages in their lives.
“We are Otters!” Dier implored. “Naturally, we possess an outer armor molded over our time here — one that is priceless. Our fur is priceless because our education … at Otter Valley is irreplaceable. No matter what the cost of your next education, do not trade in your fur coat! Do not lose a piece of your identity.”
Prior to the ceremony, there was an air of heady anticipation in the new cafeteria as Principal Jim Avery held forth in a pre-graduation meeting.
“I know you will conduct yourselves with the utmost dignity and respect,” he said with a smile.
And they did, fancy decorated mortarboards aside. Katie Perry sported a headdress of peacock feathers that was visible from great distances. Alicia Juncos attached a small photo album to her mortarboard containing pictures of her friends and OV memories.
The boys were less into the decorating, but David Stone happily carried his infant nephew Tyson down the hallway before the commencement began.
Over the by the lockers, soon-to-be graduate Justine Johnson fought back tears as she hugged OV and Stafford Tech staffer Karen Decker.
“We go back a ways,” Decker said with a smile. “I’m so proud of you!”
Then it was time to line up down the hallway and the clapping began. It felt like the beginning of a football game.
Once inside the gym, the capacity crowd cheered the caps and gowns despite temperatures in the 80s.
Salutatorian Kelsey Pollack is her speech noted the menial first jobs of some famous actors and musicians, including Brad Pitt in a chicken suit outside a Mexican restaurant, Kane West working at the Gap, and Madonna’s early stint at Dunkin Donuts.
“With hard work, determination and their share of failures, these people became the famous figures we know today,” she said. “The Class of 2012 is, and has been, working hard too, and perhaps… some of us with hit the big screen as well.”
Pollack also implored her fellow classmates and those in attendance to adopt a green philosophy about the environment.
“It is in your hands, and within your power, to make a difference,” Pollack said. “We can preserve our world and allow mankind a beautiful, healthy, green future.”
Class Secretary Clairissa Quigley introduced the class of 1962, of which roughly a dozen members were in attendance.
Dier sent his classmates with some tips from the life of the mighty otter, good advice for anyone, really.
“As we go off in our separate ways, remember what it is to be an otter,” Dier said. “Remember that they are hard-working industrious creatures that glide gracefully through the water. But remember, for as much as otters like to have fun, they never slide out of control.”

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