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Ledyard — Rachael Miller advised her fellow Ledyard High School graduates Saturday to "leave no one in dispute about our values and what we stand for."
The graduates' lives may have become more complex since learning lessons from childhood stories, such as "The Little Engine that Could," said Miller, a Ledyard Scholar among the top 10 students in her class.
But like the evident truths of these tales, she encouraged members of the Class of 2013 to define their own values and set high standards.
"As we are launched into the next chapter of our lives, we need to ask: What do we want the moral of our lives to be?" she asked.
Speaker Patricia Webb, a paraprofessional and Braille specialist, looked upon the Class of 2013 eagerly awaiting their diplomas in shiny robes on the high school field and said their palpable excitement mirrored the emotions she saw on their faces during the first day of kindergarten.
"I am constantly impressed by the heart and soul this class possesses," said Webb, who has worked with graduate Michael J. Daggett since kindergarten and has watched the class grow over the past 13 years.
Webb advised them to be kind, generous with their talents and independent thinkers. And though they may never fully understand their impact on the world, she said she hopes they will never forget the fact that: "You matter."
In reflecting upon a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, Principal Amanda O. Fagan told the class to "reject unkindness" and connect to other human beings.
"Follow those waves of truth and love," she said, encouraging them to smile at strangers, listen to others and be themselves.
Class President Kelsey Lee Johnson recounted the graduates' contributions over their high school years, from reading to first-graders to wearing "over-the-top" outfits to school pep rallies.
"Whether or not you know it, you have been an inspiration to me and to each other," she said.
Qiuyin Ren, one of several Ledyard Scholars who spoke Saturday, encouraged the graduates to find hope as they embarked upon their future paths.
"Never give up on yourself and who you will become," she said.
Catherine Anne Periman Adams, Mitchell R. Allen, Cristian David Alvis, Brandon Michael Anderson, Alexandra Christine Armaos, Jordan Avena, Samantha Joy Baatz, Dayton Lloyd Bagg, Jessica Ann Baron, Brian Tyler Bates, Tyler James Batty, Sarah Elizabeth Bazinet, Julianna Rebecca Beaver, Mikayla Marie Becker, Breanna Lyn Bedard, Jacob Devin Bennett, Samantha Marlaine Bernacchi, Jordan Lee Bierman, Weston Philip Button Blake, Madison Irene Blask, Abigail Bora, Desmond Jaquan Boyd, Samantha Kaye Boyd, Robert Bozym, Lauren Helene Briggs, Thomas Henry Brightman III, Benjamin Peter Bruciati, Shideira Monique Burbridge, Allison Louise Campbell, Bethany Winona Carrington, Amber Nicole Castle, Grace Elisabeth Chattin, Antonio Dupont Clapp-Farinha, Adam Matthew Cochrane, Kimberly Marie Codding, Bryan Bobbie Collins, Jonathon Austin Collins, Ariana M. Comeau, Amber Raelin Coombe, Hope Catherine Crandall, Katherine Ann Cummings, Michael James Daggett, Nicholas Patrick Daly, Ashley Renee Dart, Deanna Elizabeth Daugherty, Rachel Mary Davies, Sydney Rae Davies, Colton S. Day, Austin William Decker, Anuj K. Desai, Mike-Kensy Desir, Joshua William DeSouza, Deionte Jamahl Dewar, David Jay Diamond, Robert Arnold Drury, Brandon James Duben, Gabrielle Rose Dubuc, Amanda Faith Eakin, Cody James Edmonds, David Fielding Eichelberg, Patricia Kathleen Elliott, Damon Matthew Ellis, Douglas Jacob Epstein, Jordan Eugene Farquhar, Brandi Michelle Feliciano, Brandon DeShawn Finney, Nathalia Amelia Fleitas, Kayla Alexis Fowler, Marguerite Danielle France, Joseph Louis Franzone, Jessika Emma Fratus, Brittany Anne Fuchs, Kylie Berry Fustini, Alec Benjamin Gabriel, Jennifer Marie Gaccione, Patrick John Gallagher, Alison Nicole Gardner, Kerrie Edward Gardner, Zachary Ryan Gatewood, Tyler Michelle Gernhard, Christopher Bennett Gill, Inniyah Ayrn Gills, Ashley Elizabeth Merét Giordano, Brandon Wallace Goudy, Peter William Grant, Joycelynn Doris Green, Kelsey Marie Greene, Colin Chandler Grim, Billy Guo, Tyler Shea Hammond, Amanda Marie Hausler, Rosanna Maria Hayer, Nathaniel Douglas Haynes, Justin Leroy Herrick, Jessica Alice Hespeler, Alexander James Hillyer, Alexander Robert Hintz-Valdez, Michelle Evelyn Hobert, Michaela Joann Holland, Laurel Ashley Holubecki, Jake Weston Holzenthal, Elizabeth Jean Hooper, Enya Anne Horler, Michael Scott Hughes, Kendra Rosemary Seabury Hume, Gregory Glass Hutchins, Matthew Stewart James, Ericka Marie Jenkins, Tiffany Marie Jensen, Kelsey Lee Johnson, Kyle Ashley Johnson, Miranda Lyn Johnston, Matthew Nelson Jones, Mathilde Junger, Calton I. Karpi, Kevin Craig Kohlhepp, Cameron Alexander Krauth, Shana Marie Kuhse, Adedoyin Deborah Ladoja, Brook Emilee Lasater, Steven Michael Leandri, Halle McKenzie Lehner, Shannon Quinn Lozier, Hailey Michelle Lugo, Jacky Ma, Keith Brian Machi, Andrew Phillips Mallory, Megan Elizabeth Marmaud, Christine Ann Martin, Michael Barrington Martin, Duncan Thomas Maxwell, Randall Wayne McCullough, Matthew Shane McElwee, Tevin Charles Merrill, Dru Alexander Mihalko, Adiana Gabrelle Mihok, Rachael Jean Miller, Jessica M. Monday, Christopher James Monroe, Benjamin Morales, Christopher William Morgan, Alexandra Lin Neilan-Walters, Jordan William Norbut, Kaelyn Nicole Nordmark, Dakota L. O'Connell, Jillian Edna O'Connor, Alexis Victoria Olsen, Mary-Margaret Rose Pacheco, Erica Marie Pangelinan, Kyle John Parry, Alexander Steward Paterson, Regan Elizabeth Patsiga, Timothy Gary Paul, Kaitlin Anne Pealer, Matthew Thomas Peluso, Cheven Richard Perry, Kyle Wayne Perry, Brittany Ann Phelps, Alexis M Polonsky, Samantha Ann Porter, Cassidy A. Powell, Johnathan Kennedy Rainey, Bryan Jacob-Michael Raksnis, Jaquontee Sakye Reels, Lindsey Margaret Reinhart, Mikayla Elizabeth Rein-Walsh, Qiuyin Ren, Miranda Marie Rexhaj, Jeffrey P. Rodman, Joseph Rosen, Michael Robert Russak, Anthony Gerard Saccone, Andrea Lynn Sadosky, Justin Scott Schramm, Brianna Renee Sebastian, Brittney Marie Sebastian, Noe Fernando Serna, Steven Raphael Servedio, Christine Carrie Simmons, Ian Dwane Smith, Jason Alexander Smith, Kelsey Marie Stegall-Smith, Evan David Stockmon, Sarena Jem Stogden, Logan Scott Stoiber, Walker James Strelevitz, Daniel Jacob Terrapin, Marcus Allen Teune, Richard Norman Thibodeau, Annie Veronica Thompson, Kiara Cardie Thompson, Amanda Kay Throop, Justin Jacob Timberlake, Heather Lynn Fay Tolbert, Tyler Albert Torelli, Meghan Lee Tripp, Christopher William Turner, Alexandra Grace Tynan, Joyce Ann Valdellon, Ryan Anthony Wade, Jay Javier Walker, Daphne Raine Walsh, Christof Edwin Wegiel, Katherine Anne Welles, Rose Marie McFadden Welles, Thomas Albert Whipple, Raagan Leah Wicken, Joshua David Wilson, Kyle Christian Wilson, Conner Matthew Wilt, Zachary Wirta, Michael Robert Wood, Benjamin Bryce Woodruff, Aubrey Leah Woods, Hayleigh Michelle Yates, Christopher Samuel Youmans, Lucy Zhang, Yushan Minnie Yukiko Zhang.