Every morning right before school for the past two years, the students at Half Hollow Hills High School West heard Matthew Rudin’s voice over the loudspeakers giving the morning announcements.
On the last day of school on Friday, Rudin broke down in tears as he gave his final goodbyes to the student body who referred to him as “the mayor of High School West.”
“The school started with my voice every day and I’m definitely going to miss it,” said Rudin, 18, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. “The senior class has really grown together this year more than ever.”
On Sunday, Rudin walked across the stage to receive his diploma with 350 other graduates of the Half Hollow Hills West Class of 2012.
In her salutatory address, Tanya Jain spoke of the goals many students have upon entering college in the fall.
“Prove everyone wrong and show them that you can use a washing machine at least once per semester,” said Jain, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
Jesse Schanback’s valedictory speech caused several eruptions of laughter as he described throwing parties in his basement and his “goon squad” of friends.
“I started off the process of writing this speech by reading the speeches of former valedictorians and watching YouTube videos in order to formulate the most interesting, memorable and thought-provoking speech possible,” said Schanback. “Turns out I’m not that profound and my original speech was deemed ‘too inappropriate,’ so here goes nothing. Have a sense of humor, because life is way too boring without it.”
Throughout their senior year, the West graduates often shouted their motto, “It ends with us.”
During his speech, class president Brendan Forte came up with a new mantra for the students: “We’re just getting started.”
Photo: Matthew Rudin, the "mayor" of Half Hollow Hills High School West (June 24, 2012)