BILLERICA -- The 331 skilled artisans and technicians that earned their diplomas Friday night in Billerica were, together, a class that raised the bar.
The Shawsheen Valley Vocational Technical High School graduating class was recognized for breaking some records during the commencement ceremony, held at the school's Cassidy Field.
The class of 2014 had the highest average attendance record in the state, at 97 percent, had the highest rate of co-op placement in the state and was the first class to hold a Rams event (senior prom) at Gillette Stadium.
And among those congratulating the graduates for their achievements was keynote speaker and State Treasurer Steven Grossman along with Congressman John Tierney.
Grossman talked about the importance of education funding as well as the significance of having passion in their lives.
"And finally, never lose the passion that you have in your heart and in your gut at this moment. Because it's all about passion," Grossman said.
In the spirit of passion and breaking new ground, class President Chase Rebidue made an unscripted addition to the beginning of his speech, announcing his desire to take the first class selfie and grabbing a quick photo of himself at the podium with his class behind him.
But on a serious note, Rebidue recognized the importance of the technical high school.
"As high school comes to a close, I cannot help but realize what a unique place Shawsheen really is. Shawsheen is its own small community, consisting of plumbers, nurses, artists and anything else that you could think of," said Rebidue.
Valedictorian Danielle Barry shared her classmate's sentiment on the uniqueness of their school and explained how students at Shawsheen Tech stand out.
"Now we are licensed in the fields of our choice. We are building and wiring houses, styling real customers in a hair salon, and cooking dishes that most people can't even pronounce," Barry said.
Salutatorian Frederick Pendleton III closed his speech by making sure the graduating class remembered, as they looked toward the future, to take special notice in the present.
"Let yourself enjoy this moment, because tomorrow we take the first step," said Pendleton.