Vice President Joe Biden told the 2012 graduates of Broward County's largest school Monday that they and their school are remakable.
"What you’ve built in 10 years is amazing," the vice president said at the graduation ceremony for Cypress Bay High School, the first such event to be held at Marlins Park.
"As we’ve heard from your principal, you haven’t just distinguished yourself on the field, you’ve distinguished yourself in every field – soccer championships, tennis championships, math championships. More AP tests than I can count, and nationally ranked debaters," Biden said.
But more important than those accomplishments is the atmosphere the students have created at the school, he said.
He described it as "an atmosphere of acceptance and support for one another, a cohesion that is rare in any school, much less a school as big as this one."
"If you can take that attitude with you – the attitude where you don’t simply tolerate differences of background and opinion, you accept it, you even solicit the differences. If you can take that with you, it will be one of the keys for your success in life," Biden said. "Because there’s nothing, nothing your world is going to need more, than being able to accept, support, and work with people with very different views.”
Assistant Principal Jeff Nelson told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Cypress Bay was thrilled to have Biden as its Commencement speaker.
"Who better to motivate and inspire our graduates than the vice president of our country? It's an honor to have the No. 2 guy in charge of our country speak to our graduates," Nelson said.
The school had arranged for the ceremony to take place on June 3 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, but Biden could only attend if it was held on June 4, but the center was booked for that day.
The school booked the new Marlins Park for $16,000, about $6,000 more than the original facility.
Biden told the graduates that his dream as a kid was standing as a batter at home plate at a major league ballpark.
“But I had to settle for becoming vice president,” he quipped.
The newspaper reports that an anonymous donor will pay the difference in cost between venues.
Chelsea Hirschhorn, who oversees events at the park, said this is the first graduation there.
"I have been involved in student government and it's exciting to have the vice president here," said Krystal Rincon, executive vice president of the school's senior class. "Since he will be at our graduation, it's more than just a graduation, it's a political event."