‘Leave your mark,’ Palmetto grads
PALMETTO — Graduating senior Ben Durrance challenged Palmetto High School’s Class of 2011 during Saturday afternoon’s commencement.
“Go out there and leave your mark on the world,” the 17-year-old said. “Let everyone in here hear your name. Show everyone that being a member of the Class of 2011 at Palmetto High School means something. Be a doctor, a lawyer, CEO, manager — whatever it is that you do, whatever your calling may be. Be the best that there is in your field.”
Durrance, who plans to attend the University of South Florida in August, offered advice through the parable of the pencil maker.
The pencil maker, he said, told his pencil five things about its life:
Everything you do will leave a mark.
Mistakes can be corrected.
What’s most important is what’s inside.
In life, you will undergo painful sharpening that will make you a better pencil.
And, to be the best pencil that you can be, you have to allow yourself to be guided by the hand that holds you.
Durrance’s recollection of the popular parable earned applause from the 319 students who graduated from Palmetto High.
The Manatee County Convention and Civic Center was packed with parents, friends and loved ones, with plenty of congratulatory balloons and flowers in tow. And each time there was a quiet moment, horns, whistles and screams for that special loved one rang out.
Shout outs of: “Adrianna, we love you,” “Jamie!” and “Ryan!” could be heard above the students’ heads. But it was Huda Saleh who reminded her fellow graduates that their graduation was a family affair. Her commencement speech offered warm appreciation and love to classmates and family members. She recalled times in class when one of her teachers would play Michael Jackson music and the two would attempt the Moonwalk. But it was the lessons that she learned that Saleh wanted her classmates to remember most.
“Be whoever you want to be. Live with no regrets and never look back,” Saleh said in her commencement speech, recalling lessons she learned from her sister.
Principal Willie Clark said, “I trust the things you’ve learned while tackling your school goals will help as you continue along the path of success.”
Last Updated: 9:52 AM, April 7, 2009
Posted: 12:57 AM, April 7, 2009
Richard Johnson with Paula Froelich, Bill Hoffmann, Corynne Steindler, and Neel Shah
COURTNEY Love finally sobered up and realized that some of the people handling Kurt Cobain’s estate had lost all the money the Nirvana frontman had left her and their daughter, Frances Bean, her lawyer says.
A team of investigators, forensic accountants and lawyers found that Cobain’s estate had been looted of more than $30 million cash and up to $500 million in real estate.
“I have never seen such greed and moral turpitude. This case is going to make Bernard Madoff look warm and fuzzy,” Love’s lawyer, Rhonda J. Holmes, of Gordon & Holmes in San Diego, told Page Six.
“We will be filing civil cases . . . within the next 30 days. There are many, many millions missing. We’ve only been able to track down $30 million, but there is more. And then there is the real estate.”
According to Holmes, bank accounts using Cobain, Love and Frances Bean’s Social Security numbers were set up and used to buy and sell real estate across the US.
“There is now a web of homes which were bought, flipped and used to launder money — up to $500 million worth,” Holmes said. “Any of the property we can get back will be donated to people who have lost their homes in foreclosures.”
Asked how this could have happened, Holmes said, “Courtney noticed the money was gone when there wasn’t any left. It’s no secret she struggled with substance-abuse issues, but in the last year she’s taken a more serious approach to sobriety and started noticing things were wrong. She hired private investigators, accountants and me.
“We are also working with local and federal authorities,” Holmes said. “When Mr. Cobain died in 1994, he left his enormously wealthy estate behind for the benefit of his mother, two sisters, a brother, his wife and young daughter. Many of those [involved with] the estate’s coffers mismanaged, stole and outright looted it shamelessly.”