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Stonington - For the first time in recent memory the threat of storms forced a Stonington High School graduation ceremony to take place inside the school.
But the rain Wednesday didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 201 graduates and their relatives and friends who packed the steamy gymnasium and cheered for the graduates.
Valedictorian Jennifer Brant told the crowd that her high school teachers were part of what inspired her to want to teach.
As an aspiring elementary school teacher, she said, it should be no surprise that she loves children's stories.
Brant then noted how many well-known children's stories, such as "Winnie the Pooh," "Goodnight Moon" and "Curious George," have messages for her fellow classmates as they head out into the world.
She said the message from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is this: "When it comes to your career, choose something that is 'just right.' Don't settle for a job that is too hot or too cold or that you are only doing because someone else thinks you should. Choose to do something with your life that you will love to do because you are passionate about it and find it meaningful."
"Stonington High School Class of 2011, there is still so much of our story for us all to write. We have so many possibilities, so many choices to make, so many new adventures to embark upon. It is extremely exciting," she said.
Salutatorian Erin Skeens told her fellow classmates that during each school year up until now, they have anxiously waited for June because it means the end of tests and essays and the beginning of summer.
"Today, however, stands in stark contrast with all previous June days. Instead, today represents a momentous time in our lives, marking the end of our high school careers and the beginning of a wide, open future filled with infinite possibilities," she said.
Senior Class President Mary Kate Connelly told the crowd that the late author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."
"But nothing could be less true about this class. There are 201 incredible graduates here today, and I can't wait to see how they change the world," she said.
Wednesday guest speaker was Caroline Chapman, who heads the school's athletics booster club, is a substitute teacher and has been very involved in the school system. Her daughter Megan Rose was a graduating senior.
Chapman told the seniors that she has watched them grow up over the years and had hosted many of the students at a Halloween party at her home each year in which they had to bring donations for causes such as hurricane relief. "The organizations were always amazed at what we collected. But that's who you are, people with big hearts who look out for others." she said. She left them with a quote from Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
This year's class gift, which was announced at the ceremony, is a bench for the guidance department hallway.
Caitlyn Erika Adcock, Ross R. Aiello IV, Victor S. Amkhamavong, Mitchel Gannon Apatow, Bianca Marie Baldelli, Zita Banfalvi, Daniel Courtland Banker, Rachel Dian Banker, Olivia Lee Barth, John Thomas Bavasso, Madison E. Bavasso, Jake M. Berkowitz, Ryan Marshall Berlam, Christopher Matthew Blanco, Ryan Michael Bolduc, Kailey-Rae Boozam, Thomas Andrew Bovino, Jennifer Megan Brant, Dawn Ann Bridgham, Duncan John Brown, Andrea Rose Buck, Charlie Ray Burger V, Emilie Sjöström Burgess, Tory S. Burgess, Ethan Robert Burke, Nicholas William Burton, Justin Daniel Butler, April Camille Canavan, Cody Milton Candelet, Jon David Capozzoli, Claire Louise Chambers, Kimberly Ann Chambers, Megan Rose Kimble Chapman, Todd Joseph Chiaradio, Aaron J. Ciardullo, Stephanie Margaret Collins, James Edward Connelly, Mary K. Connelly, Brittany Nicole Cordeiro, Jessica Marie Costa, Christopher Dahl Currier, Timothy Patrick Cusack, Kathryn A. DaSilva, Averie Amber DeCarli, Joseph J. DeCarlo III, Christopher John DeFranco, Samuel Joseph Dipollino, Sarah Elizabeth Dipollino, Cameron DiScuillo, Eben Joseph DiScuillo, Spencer Evan Dodd, Kaitlyn Spencer Donch, Quentin Jacques André Doyonnas, David Martin Ero, Laura Elizabeth Fast, Charles Halsey Anson Fayal, Jillian Elisa Fergione, Caitlin Quinn Ferguson, Alexander Jacob Fernandes, Angela Rose Jolyn Ferrara, Angelo J. Ferrara,
William R. Ferrigno II, Jon Matthew Fiorillo, Kimberly Veronica Flores-DelaCruz, Avery Milan Floyd, Sam B. Friedman IV, Maegan Alexa Garvey, Mikaela Brittany Gillick, Christopher John Girard, James Morgan Hall, Scott Allan Hallamore Jr., Charles John Hallisey, Colby Oat Harrington, Kyle Michale Harrison, Kehlsi M. Haynes, Jay Richard Hespeler, Gretchen Eddy Heublein, Hailee N. Hickey, Noelle Juliette Hickey, Amanda Susan Hobert, Kyle Proctor Holdgate, Leah Tess Howard, Olivia Margaret Huesman, Elizabeth Lea Hutchins, Emily Elizabeth Hutter, Rachel Marie Inzana, Sarah Ninette Johnson, Elizabeth Winslow Johnstone, Grant A. Kane, Andrew T. Kawabata, Devin A. Keehner, Kyle Martin-James Kelleher, Nicholas Emery Kelley, Kalee Erin Latham, Victoria Anne La Vista, Eric G. Le Clair, Elizabeth Rose Luketich, Arthur J. Lussier III, Kathleen Ann Lynch, Drew Stephen Lyon, Thomas Sainsbury MacMahon, Daniel S. Maderia, Jessica Alice Magro, Amanda-Marie Mansfield, Benjamin David Mazzarese, Marcus John McCarthy, Nathan Alexander McColl, Lauren Alexandra McCue, James Andrew McVeigh, Cailey Caroline Meagher, Colin Robert Melford, Andrew Patrick Melia, Chelsea Kay Miceli, Lindsey A. Michaels, Austin Gabriel Miller, Elias Taylor Miner, Briana Elizabeth Minicucci, Alex Edward Mitchell, Marisa Helen Moody, Rebecca Catherine Moore, Emily Haug Morgera, Sarah Jane Morin, Brian Michael Murphy, Eva Alexandra Nelson, Laura Rachelle Nickerson, Oscar A. Nordness, Corinne Emily Corril Northup, Jessica Nicole Nowack, Thea Noel O'Lari, Christian J. O'Neil, Ian M. O'Neill, Emily Paige O'Rourke, Courtney Marie Onorato, Robert Joseph Pabst Jr., Randi Beth Parrilla, Ellen Marie Petersen, Meghan Joan Pettini, Emily Ann Pinko, Sarah Charlotte Point, Jennie Patricia Poirier, Sydney Leanne Porter, Laith Farouk Rajab, Robert Trenchard Ramsdell III, William Martin Regan, Abdul Rehman, Grace Alice Rezendes, Clint William Riley, Thomas Chapman Riordan, Victoria Leigh Rodriguez, William H. Romeo, Geoffrey John Roy, Jacob Alan Sanda, Matthew David Sanford, Sara Marina Santos, Joseph 'Joey' J. Sawyer IV, Jacob Michael Schlauder, Christopher John Grover Sealey, Mary Catherine Shawyer, Brenden T. Shea, Nina D. Sheffield, James Dean Shroyer, Erin Michela Skeens, Samuel Alexander Slater, Alyssa Carin Smallridge, Jocelyn Leigh Snyder, Amy Lynn Souza, Johnathan Johnson Roy Spaulding, Reynolds Chace Springborn III, Jacob Connor Steinhoff, Allison Lynn Stillman, John Michael Stonely, Elizabeth Cooper Stouch, Emma Elizabeth Sugar, James B. Swenarton, Tyler J. Tavares, Joshua Andrew Taylor, Tori Ann Thomas, Samantha Lauren Tice, Kelsey Ann Tillinghast Mary Kathryn Tobin, Justin J. Trombino, Kathryn Maria Trombino, Emily Christine Turner, Victoria Lynn Turner, Michael Peter Vacca, Elena Miller Vail, Michael W. Van Gorder, Lia Amanda Vann, Eric William Veit, Jake Troy Viteritto, Caroline Cecilia Walz, Eric Victor Welcome, Ashley Rose Wheeler, Alexandra Leahy Wickman, Ford K. Wilson, Lawrence E. Wilson IV, Mark Anthony Wingfield, John Henry Wostrel, Jiajian Wu, Aki Yamamoto, Faye Zelepos.