SARASOTA -- Walking across the stage at the end of high school is sweet.
Just ask Cardinal Mooney High School valedictorian Timothy Lerow.
“There are times that are bitter. There are times that are bittersweet. Tonight is none of those things,” said Timothy, 17, of Bradenton, in his speech Friday night. “Tonight is just sweet.”
Lerow was among the 123 students who graduated in a ceremony at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
The soon-to-be political science major at Duke University reflected on the journey he and his fellow classmates took in high school. From their first day as freshman, to working on papers past midnight, and finally finishing.
“We’re coming out with a whole lot more than just an education,” Lerow said. “It’s true in many months we will not see each others’ faces again, but the great paradox lingers that what we are leaving behind is actually what we are taking with us.”
In the moments before they took the stage, classmates hugged, took photos and vowed to one another that they would remain friends forever.
“I enjoyed my time in high school. It went really fast,” said Megan Kraus, 18, who will attend the University of South Florida and studying special needs education.
Meanwhile, parents, family and friends sat waiting for their grad’s name to be called.
For Thomas Brennick, of Parrish, watching his youngest child Andrew graduate high school was nothing short of a sweet moment.
“Very proud, couldn’t be prouder. He worked very hard in school,” Brennick said of his son, who will be attending the University of Florida. “He wants to be a doctor.”
He said he wants to see his son continue on the foundation of hard work he laid out for himself in high school.
Any words of wisdom from father to son?
“Study hard and call your mom.”