MANCHESTER — Pinkerton Academy graduated more than 700 students Monday in a lengthy ceremony that had students yawning and fidgeting with their gowns as well as batting around beach balls and shouting out approvals to fellow students.
The graduation program listed 769 graduates, who occupied the floor of the Verizon Wireless Arena in downtown Manchester.
"Go forth Class of 2013. Tell the world a promising generation is coming," said salutatorian Patrick Doolittle, who used his speech to rebut a recent Time magazine article that disparaged the millennial generation as lazy and narcissistic.
Rather, Doolittle said, Pinkerton students raised money for survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, sent messages of hope to victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes and lined Route 28 to honor former Pinkerton graduate Paul DeMeo, who died unexpectedly at Fort Bragg.
"Twenty years from now, if you're still a busboy at some diner, you've only failed if you've given up on your dream to be President," Doolittle said.
The event began under darkening skies, prompting guests to scurry into the arena before the storm hit. About 45 minutes into the ceremony, rain started to fall.
Pinkerton, which is located in Derry, bills itself as the largest independent academy in the United States. It educates students from Chester, Derry, Hampstead and Auburn.
This year, Pinkerton graduates received a total of more than $9 million in scholarships.