Advice to seniors: Keep fire of youth

Devon Lindsey Harlan Gay, right, shares a laugh with fellow members of the Williams School Class of 2010 Wednesday while listening to keynote speaker John Becker, an English teacher at Williams, during commencement at Connecticut College's Palmer Auditorium in New London.
Devon Lindsey Harlan Gay, right, shares a laugh with fellow members of the Williams School Class of 2010 Wednesday while listening to keynote speaker John Becker, an English teacher at Williams, during commencement at Connecticut College's Palmer Auditorium in New London. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo

New London - English teacher John Becker recalled his own high school experience for graduating seniors of The Williams School Wednesday.

As a freshman, he remembered thinking, the seniors "seemed kind of like those people in TV shows in which actors in their late 20s play high school students."

"The varsity players really looked like the cast from '300,' the cheerleaders could have all been professional models," Becker said.

But as a senior himself, he said, "I did not feel as old, as cool, or as together as they seemed."

The Class of 2010, sitting on stage of Connecticut College's Palmer Auditorium, looked like adults, women in white dresses and men in suit jackets and khaki pants.

But Becker, who was selected to be speaker by the senior class, warned them that maturity is a continuum.

"You will never suddenly feel like an adult," he said. "Use this to your advantage: Keep the fire and energy and excitement of youth."

Several seniors showcased their musical talents, including an acoustic version of Rihanna's "Umbrella," performed by Taylor Bickford, Danielle Briggs, Aaron Davis and Sam Evans. The whole senior class sang "With A Little Help From My Friends."

Senior class speaker J. Levi Walker of Guilford said he worried about finding true friends as he prepares to go to college in a new place. But his classmates at The Williams School gave him reassurance.

"I will be able to find strengths in anybody, anywhere, because my graduating class has conditioned me to do so," Walker said. "Every single student sitting to my left, every single friend is so unique and so incredibly special that they have taught me to seek out these traits in anyone I meet."

Head of School Mark Fader asked students to consider the role family members played in their success and to find them in the audience "with their eyes," prompting some of the audience to wave to the graduates.

"The encouragement they provided, the shoulder they offered to you on which to lean and sometimes even cry, the words of encouragement and boosts of confidence delivered in seemingly perfect time... will and should be most appreciated by all of you," Fader said.

k.warchut@theday.com

GRADUATES:

Zachary J. Agostine, Old Lyme; Danielle Millar Auerbach, Madison; Grace Anne Beggins, Guilford; Alisa F. Biber, Norwich; Taylor Bickford, Ivoryton; Haley Gifford Blair, Old Lyme; Noah I. Bogdonoff, New London; Babi Bose, Pawcatuck; Danielle Alexandra Briggs, East Lyme; Courtney Jane Burd, Old Lyme; Hayley Margaret Caruso, Stonington; Matthew Collins, Salem; Jonathan A. Crain, Essex; Hope A. Culliton, Guilford; Anna Elisabeth Daren, New London; Aaron Samuel Davis, New London; Arianna G. Dayharsh, Essex; Jacob H. Dryden-Jaffe, New London; Samuel Livingston Evans, Fishers Island, N.Y.; Devon Lindsey Harlan Gay, New London;

Jacob Grant Goldberg, Waterford; Kyah Kathleen Gorin, Norwich; Gabor Hajos, East Lyme; Kolton Hessie Harris, Groton; Chieh Ming Hu, Waterford; Alison Marie Hudecek, Noank; Alexandra Kate Ivimey, Chester; Alexander Crawford Kydd, New London; Timothy Chester Larson, Mystic; Alexander Hanyu Lin, Westerly, R.I.;

Constancia Zoe Malahias, Waterford; Anne A. Marcinek, Essex; Caroline Hastings Mattson, Lyme; Kristina Nicole Mazzola, Old Saybrook; James John McGill, Marlborough; Samantha R. Miceli, New London; Hayleigh Christian Mildon, Westerly, R.I.; Caroline Eileen Mills, Groton; Millicent B. Moore, Stonington; Stephanie Morales, New London; Lauren Kirstie McKeand Morse, Stonington; Victoria Mary Isabel Myshka, Mystic; Monica Marie Nelson, Stonington; Nancy Breck O'Connor, Westerly, R.I.; Marissa Francies Peck, Mystic; Samuel David Pieniadz, Oakdale; Abbey Anne Reiser, Mystic; Nathan Phillip Roy, Essex; Bianca Nancy Salkin, Old Lyme; William Carlisle Schaeffer, Chester; Kara Elizabeth Shannon, Old Lyme; Miles A. Sherman, Essex; Noah Luis Spigelman, Guilford; Christopher Charles Trammell, North Stonington; J. Levi Walker, Guilford; Douglas Campbell Weatherby, Essex; Kara Marie Westbrook, New London;

Olivia Eve Zoufaly, Madison.

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