Viola Davis addresses RI high school alma mater

CREATED May 25, 2012

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CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (AP) -- Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis urged graduating seniors at the high school in the struggling Rhode Island city where she grew up to treasure "hard times and joyous moments."

Davis spoke to Central Falls High School seniors, members of student government and student actors Thursday morning.

She is a 1983 graduate of the school and has continued to support education in Central Falls.

Davis tells students that "the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."

The city of 19,000 residents is in the middle of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Principal Joshua Laplante calls Davis a "treasured" graduate. He says she has overcome adversity but remembers where she came from with a "genuine sense of pride."

Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2011 film "The Help."