With diplomas in hand and friends and family at their side, the Class of 2019 bid a fond farewell to Atlantis during an emotional commencement ceremony.
Family, friends, lower classmates and teachers filled the Tritons Gymnasium to cheer on the 62 graduates.
Student council president and valedictorian Nathan Botelho delivered a stirring speech, urging his classmates to embrace failure.
“Throughout our lives, it will be our successes that build our reputation; however, and perhaps more importantly, it will be our failures that build our character,” Botelho said. “We will learn more from our finest failures than we ever will from our most amazing successes. So, as we go on, remember the value of failure because ten years from now, I’m not going to be mad at you if you aim high and miss, but we’re going to have a real issue if you aim low and hit.”
Botelho also told his classmates it is okay to be scared, a thought echoed by guest commencement speaker Brian Bermudez. “Don’t avoid doing something because it’s scary. Do it because it’s scary,” he said.
Bermudez is no stranger to Atlantis. He graduated from the school’s K-8 program in 2006. He is now a trial attorney for Fall River’s Committee for Public Counsel Services.
Bermudez spoke of the change that commencement represents, “It’s not the end of an era, but the beginning of your new life. You’re opening yourself up to the world, to new opportunities and unfamiliar territories.”
The Class of 2019 is the second class to graduate from Atlantis’s new high school. Like the class before them, this class boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and every student plans to attend college.
Senior class advisor Hillary Lynch said loud cheers filled the gym for each and every graduate as they crossed the stage to receive their diploma. It was a gesture that did not surprise her because she said the Class of 2019 has always supported each other and has always had each other’s back.
“My hope for this class is that they take the lessons that they’ve learned and they go out and explore away from Fall River, then come back and see what positive changes they can make,” Lynch said. “I just want them to reach beyond their potential and go beyond their comfort zone to see there is a big world out there and they can do a lot of good in it.”
Botelho said he has no doubt his classmates will succeed, and he left them with this advice, “Be kind, be humble, be afraid, and be unstoppable. Do something exceptional, or at least do something! Take chances, take opportunities, and take care of you.”
Atlantis Charter School and its Class of 2019 would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their contributions and support: St. Anne’s Credit Union; Market Basket; the Fall River Arts Academy; the Law Offices of Burke, Espinola & van Colen; Applebee’s Grill & Bar; Royal Pizza; Dunk N Munch; Barrett’s Alehouse; Stop and Shop; IHOP; the Atlantis Charter School Board of Directors; and individuals and families related to the Class of 2019, including James Wallace, Steven Santos, Carrie Silva, the Botelhos, the Berniers, the Peixotos, the Arrudas, the Lebruns, the Chaves, the Mirandas, the Monteiros, the Silvias, and the Lynches.
Check out these links to the Herald News coverage of Atlantis Commencement:
Off to new adventures for Atlantis Charter School graduates (photo gallery)