Graduates win Ledyard's 'amazing race'

Justin Wenzel, left, a Ledyard High School Class of 2010 graduate, lifts Principal Louis Gabordi and spins him after Wenzel received his diploma during commencement exercises Wednesday at the school.
Justin Wenzel, left, a Ledyard High School Class of 2010 graduate, lifts Principal Louis Gabordi and spins him after Wenzel received his diploma during commencement exercises Wednesday at the school. Abigail Pheiffer/ The Day Buy Photo

Ledyard - Only a third of the members of the Ledyard High School Class of 2010 started together 12 years ago, but Principal Louis Gabordi remarked on how much they seem connected.

"I've seen you come together to celebrate the accomplishments of your class and come together even during times of tragedy," Gabordi said.

Gabordi called the Class of 2010 an "accomplished group." This class of Colonels has produced 19 scholars, the largest in Ledyard High School history.

"I just don't want to say goodbye to a group I feel so connected to," Gabordi said.

The 232 graduates had a sunshine-filled commencement ceremony on Wednesday. They sat dressed in navy blue and white robes on the football field while parents, family and friends cheered, hollered and blew air horns from the bleachers.

Senior Class President Laura Erhart reflected on her four years at Ledyard High by making references to one of her favorite things: game shows. She managed to name 18 during her speech.

"Your journey through high school is an amazing race, and we are all wondering how our lives are going to turn out," Erhart said. "While it is OK to wonder, I also think it is important to realize that our future is not just something that happens to us. It is up to us to create, but we all will figure it out eventually. High school experiences will be revisited in hindsight, resonating in our hearts and minds for a very long time after graduation."

Senior scholars Calvin Ackley, Cody Doucette and Taylor Gunnels told their classmates that they didn't want to give a "sappy speech" so instead they used their time to emphasize the quirkiness of the high school by talking about what they called the "seven wonders of Ledyard High."

These "wonders" included the bleachers, which got them through numerous football games, pep rallies and "Soulja Boy" dances; the mad dash to the lunch line and the chaos that ensues; the most favored lunch item: nachos; the fire alarm system at the high school; the elevator; the school's parking lot; and the heating system, which makes the temperatures in the school fluctuate on a daily basis.

"On the bright side, students were literally able to use the excuse, 'the school burned my homework' for that short period of time," Ackley said.

Senior scholars Erica Armaos and Ryan Pollin presented teachers with several awards, including "Best Dressed," "Being the Man award," "Most Likely to Overdose on Caffeine," "The Gabordi Awardee," and "Best Spirit of Ledyard."

Several students were also honored with scholarships, including one presented in remembrance of Matthew Buriak, a former student who passed away last November.

Senior scholars Jenny Forster, Erika Johnson and Chase Philpot also made speeches and Poet Laureate Joanie Drake read a commemorative poem she wrote called "Bittersweet."

a.renczkowski@theday.com

Ledyard High graduates

Calvin Abbott Ackley, Ashlen Austin Adcock, Edward Matthew Ahlcrona, Bradley Thomas Allen, Stephanie Marie Alonge, Celina Gail Amerson, Erica Marie Armaos, Kristina Kathleen Ash, Sawyer Wayne Auger, Brittany Nicole Baird, MackenzieBensko, Tyler Stephen Bensko, Eric Nicholas Bowles, Nicholas Robert Bozym, Nicholas James Bredeweg, Thomas Palmer Briggs, Nicholas Carl Bright, Brandon Raytoni Brisbois, Ashlie Sarah Brown, Kristen Elizabeth Campeta, Christine Marie Capacchione, Alayna Rose Cassabria, Chadd Alan Caswell, Cory Steven Cavanaugh, Rahul Julian Chandrasekaran, Temina Chebet Chebelyon-Dalizu, Tyler Guilbert Christiansen, Emily Jean Cleary, Jeri Sue Clodfelter, Rikki Leigh Clodfelter, Serena Renee Cochran, ErinColella, Zachary David James Collins, Caitlin Serene Congdon, Jessica Mery Contreras, Madolyn Adeila Coombe, Jessica Marie Costa, Anthony William Covino, Colton Tanner Craig, Zachary William Cramer, Lauren Rose Cunningham, Katelyn Rose Cusmano, Dayna Marie Daberkoe, Shelby Marie Dalton, Bronté Lizabeth Davis, Carli Ann DeLaura, Nicole Marie DelValle, David Joseph Deschenes, Brandon Joshua Doan, Willoughby Barrett Dobbs IV, Cody Joseph Doucette, Joanie Diane Drake, Laura Violet Drury, Sarah Elizabeth Dube, Kenneth Francis Dutton, Tiraa Chantelle Edwards, Katherine Carolyn Egerton, Elliot Kent Eleazer, Athena Catherine Ellis, Ashley Nicole Epstein, Laura Emily Erhart, Kevin Timothy Esposito, Jackson Taylor Farquhar, Ellen Marie Fedij, Jacob Edward Fedors, David Joseph Fidrych, Jenny Gisela Forster, Ryan Alexander Foster, Jeremiah Timothy Fowler, Stephanie Lynn Fowler, Laurel Elizabeth France, Kaitlynne Eileen Fuller, Jeffrey Anthony Gaccione, Jennifer Lauren Gadaree, Brett Daniel Galisewski, Jacob Kenneth Geer, Amy Lyn Geyer, Julia Barreira Gomes, Brianna Lynne Gomez, SheilaGomez, Kierra Elena Gracie, Shawn Michael Grady, Mariah Elizabeth Grant, Alexis Nichole Green, Alisa Sha'nae vancedarfield-Green, Britney Rene Gudeahn, Taylor Franklin Gunnels, Kristin Marie Gylinn, Kevin James Hagen, Nicholas Jevon Harris, Kevin Robert Henne, Nathaniel Manuel Hernandez, Debra Marie Hickling, Audrey Mae Higgins, Rebekah Claire Hileman, Dewey William Hinman, Denzel Nicholas Hodges, Kimberly Anne Hopkins, Mark Edward Horler, PhilipHuang, Arielle Courtney Humphreys, Derek Maxwell Hutchins, Sarah Elizabeth Iliff, Deryn James Lopes-Ingram, Athena Sade Jackson, Shelby LaForest Jarmon, Brian Scott Jennings, Haley Isabelle Jensen, Dexter Aaron Johnson IV, Briana Renee Johnson, Erika Therese Johnson, Koral Unique Johnson, Micah Raymond Johnson, Abraham Boloty Julue, Courtney Cherie Kay, John Michael King, Sarah Elizabeth Kline, Amber Kellie Knight, Kristen Leigh Kohlhepp, Marcelo Tiotangco Ladia III, Eric George Lambert, Colleen Elizabeth Lavin, Alexander Guy Lawrence, Connor Gary Lehner, Meagan Elizabeth LeHouillier, Mindy Jasmin Leung, Katie Cabral Levis, Ariel Mariah Loftis, Rebecca Frances Lynch, Ashley Mae Macklin, Christopher Wayne Magro, Brienna Louise Mahoney, Adam Joseph Mailhot, Angela Michelle Maloney, Nathanael Joseph Maloney, RobertMarku, Ruth Frances Mattison, Mariel Cristina May, Catherine Helen McAuliffe, Kerstin E. McLean, Jessica Marie Meyer, Timothy Andrew Mihalko, Nicole Kathleen Moon, VivianMorales, Kelly Ray Moran, Ashley Marie Morgan, Kyle Thomas Morgan, Jenna Caroline Morris, Alison Noel Mueller, Kathleen Sara Mueller, Elizabeth Grace Munoz, Hope Marie Nelson, Jacob Taylor Nelson, Lauren Kay Nixon, Timothy Tatsuya Nohara, Kyle John Norton, Marc Everette Nunn, Ryanne Marie O'Connor, Kathleen Erin O'Rourke, Daniel Kristopher Onarheim, Nicholas Joseph Ostaszewski, Naomi Liz Pagan, Nickolas Kelly Palermo, Jennifer Marie Panosky, Stephen Carnell Paulk, Victoria Rose Peck, Nicholas Edward Penrose, Glenn Perez, Elyse Tiné Phillips, Chase MacKenzie Philpot, Kristin Phouthasone Phrasavath, Kara Elizabeth Piatek, Katrina Celeste Picard, Brittany Ashley-Mae Pierce, Ryan James Pollin, Matthew Daniel Potter, Troy Alan Powell, Justin Anthony Prescott, Kristie Jean Quinn, Michael Nicholas Cleon Reedy, Karley Elizabeth Reising, Tiffany Lynn Reyes, Alice Madeline Richardson, Katie Lynn Richardson, Matthew Alexander Rode, Jessica Lauren Rodgers, Andrew P Rodman, PriscillaRoman, Nelson Joshua Rosario, Emilie Rose Saccone, Lisa M. Sajkowicz, Kerri Lynn Scholl, Robert Harding Scott, Scott Harry Sedor, Rachelle Elna Seney, Cassidy Alaine Shannon, Alexander Richard Shaw, Ashton Kathryn Shayer, Ryan Gregory Sheline, Rebecca Winifred Sherman, Patrick Veko Shine, Chelsea Rene Skinner, Alison Elizabeth Smith, Allen Gerard Staigers, Janae Emma Stogden, Kylie May Stoiber, Stephen Michael Strong, Shane Patrick Sullivan, Austin Bevins Swan, Maria Rebecca Swan, Shirblina Assline Thelismond, Matthew Alan Thibodeau, Ashley Nichole Tilton, Arturo Villarreal Torres, EzequielTorres, Allison Rose Troy, Stephanie Chi Heng Tse, Devyn Caci Turner, Raymond Daniel Vasquez, Bethani Krista Vogt, James P Voyles, Alexander Brandon Wall, Sophia Renée Walsh, MichelleWang, Jenna Marie Warren, Jazmyn Rashel Washington, Amber Lynn Weinberg, Justin Michael Wenzel, Shannon Phelan Wetterskog, Cheri Hope White, Dylan Robert Whyte, Alfred Rogers Wilcox III, Hannah Ruth Winograd, Marissa Nicole Woble, Amanda Margaret Woods, Kristina Lyn Worden, Ronald Alejandro Zegarra, Ashley Britnay Ersa Ziervogel.

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