Sunday, May 19

‘It’s everything and more:’ 2 valedictorians in west Boca Raton family, following immense loss

It’s officially graduation season in Palm Beach County as thousands of seniors prepare to walk across the stage in more than 20 ceremonies.

You only needed to hear the music for a few seconds to feel the love and pride as the West Boca Raton Community High School class of 2024 entered the room on Tuesday.

Family members looked for their kids, teachers watched proudly, and students celebrated all they have achieved.

“I just feel like it’s everything and more. Really exciting,” valedictorian Nicole Stone said.

For Stone, being top of her class brings extra clout. Her older brother, Alexander, held the same title at West Boca Raton Community High School two years ago.

“It was kind of hard to follow after him. But I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. And it feels great that we both accomplished such an amazing thing,” Stone said.

Mom Susan Stone couldn’t be prouder of her only daughter and youngest of four kids.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s something that my husband and I always tried to instill in our kids, to work as hard as you can and good things will come to you if you do that,” Stone said.

The celebration was even more precious after losing their father months before Alexander’s graduation.

Nicole said their dad always taught them the power of positivity.

“I believe that you choose happiness,” Stone said in her graduation speech. “After all, smiling is contagious. And happy people make others happy.”

That message and theme of kindness was woven throughout the ceremony.

“Today, I challenge you to start your character career of being a kind person,” principal Edmund Capitano told students. “Make kindness your investment and it will pay you back in dividends that are immeasurable.”

So as these seniors walk out of their high school careers and into the next phase of life, it’s one more lesson to take with them.

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