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The 171 graduates of Stonington High School sat in the school's gymnasium Wednesday, their graduation ceremony moved indoors due to rainy weather.
The same thought appeared to be on everyone's mind - leaving a mark, and preserving the bonds they'd developed through high school.
"I'm proud to say that I'm a member of the Stonington High School Class of 2012," Senior Class President Elias Gharios said. "Together, we will always be connected by this bond."
Graduate Clark Chapman agreed.
"The last couple weeks have been interesting," he said. "They say that you unify as a class at the end. We've definitely dropped the clique-y stuff, and now we're all together, because we're leaving, you know? We're all ready."
Following the distribution of diplomas, Gharios approached the podium once again to reveal the Class of 2012's gifts: a bench to be placed in the guidance department's hallway; a second bench to be placed in the courtyard with an etching that read "Forever in Our Hearts," demonstrating the class's desire to leave a memorable mark on the school's halls; and a $1,000 donation to the Isabel Calmar Memorial Scholarship Fund.
In her speech, Poet Laureate Katherine Edelman summarized the cyclical nature of all high schools, in which seniors graduate and make room for a new generation of students.
"The cycle doesn't leave us empty-handed, we take an abundance of memories," she said. "The significance is in the memories. Though new generations will pass through ,and what was once ours will quietly become theirs, who we were and what we had will continue in these images, and because of them, we will forever be more than just a group going through a cycle. And to each other, we will never be replaced."
Danielle Renée Ahrens, Kathryn Jean Aiello, Jacqueline Grace Albert, Stephanie Hope Albert, Ronald Anthony Alfonso III, Austin Robert Almeida, MacKenzie Elizabeth Angus, Morgan Chelsea Arnold, Alexis Jane Baker, Jamie Lynn Ballengee, George Bryan Bentz, Thomas Jett'e Bibeau, Christopher Raymond Blanchard, Dominic Joseph Blanchet, Wilfred J. Blanchette IV, Edward Stanley Bockowski Jr., Ian Kenneth Booth, Jeffrey David Bourque, Shannon P. A. Bowers, Michael Kevin Brandon, Klay Michael Brayman, Luke Christopher Brogno, James W. Bryant, Connor Sykes Buckley and Monica Rose Burdick.
Also: Ivan Rhodes Carija, Scarlet Elizabeth Caruso, Justin William Carver, Dylan Michael Cassell, Catherine K. Cavaliere, Brian Lee Cavanaugh III, James Valentine Cerino, Clark Nathaniel Chapman, Matthew Alexander Chmielinski, Maëlann André Françoise Danièle Claessen, Robinson Mark Comeau, Morgan Beth Conlin, Jennifer Christine Conradi, Samantha Rose Cook, Robert C. Cornell, Nicole Lynn Costa, Victoria Nicole Cross, Jared Danforth DeFanti, William Thomas DeFanti, Benjamin Jeffrey Denard, Rebecca Alice Deslandes, Patrick W. H. DiCesare, Kaylee Kathryne Donovan and Rilee Brynne Drake.
Also: Katherine Anne Edelman, Marcus Jon Everett, Mariah Spring Everett, Ruth Marie Everett, Ryan Patrick Feeney, Sean Michael Finneran, Casey Kathleen Fiola, Melanie Elizabeth Floyd, Luke Rogers Foster, Nisah Julia Rose Fox, Kourtnie Marie Fritscher, Anthony Philip Gallicchio, Jessica Marie Garbarino, Victoria Thérèse Georgetti, Elias Antoine Gharios, Ross Seth Giserman, Damien Talbot Grills, Ryan Michael Joseph Grimshaw, Peter James Guzzo, Morgan Kathryn Hackney, Brandon G. Hall, Paul Christopher Hallinan Jr., Haley Andrade Hamilton, Andrew W. Han, Olivia Marie Hanson, Jonathan David Hayes, Elizabeth Catherine Hobaica, Emma Marie Holman, Amy Marie Homand, Tyler M. Homand, Peter Alexander Hoops, Bryce Joseph Howard and Kathleen Elizabeth Hughes.
Also: Aino Liisa Aleksandra Jääskeläinen, Dylan Joseph Jacobs, Arrow Johnson, Bri-Ana Delyenise Ilara Johnson, Elizabeth Reka Keller, Bobby Joe Knowles, Alexandra Nicole Konicki, Madeline Ann Kornacki, Tyler Joseph Krzyzaniak, William Lau, Jennifer Marie LaValley, Ryan David Lee, Cody Charles Lunny, Allison Kelly Lynch, Robert Stephen Lynch III, Emerson David MacDonald, Christopher Sean Manfredi, Amy Elizabeth Manning, Ethan H. Markham, Erika Rae Marquis, Thomas Manuel Mathews, Marie Christine Mattano, Jordana Rahaman McCallen, Evelina Mineikyte, Erin G. Miner, Uma Indravadan Mistry, Jessica Ann Mitchell, Kyle James Mola, Jonathan Ahearn Moore, Patrick S. Moosey, Edward Hugh Moran, Jennifer Marie Murphy and Katharine Frances Murphy.
Also: Jacob Dawson Nolan, Aubrey Susan O'Neill, William Joseph Pabst, Veronica Arruda Pacheco, Ryanne Nicole Paige, Mihar G. Patel, Layle A. Pearson, Alexandra Jean Pelt, Isaiah DeSean Perkins, Kevin Joseph Peters, Colin Scott Petrie, Jacob Edward Pont, Allissa Lynn Porter, Joseph L. Powers III, Edward George Rathbun, Hope Alice Rezendes, Asiana Breanna Richards, Erin Kelly Riley, Kurt Dillan Riley, Brooke Cote Rixon, Joshua Alan Roberts, Ryan Allen Roderick, Christian Blake Rogerson, Kyle Gardner Roseman, Julia Jane Royer and Emily Kristine Rubin.
Also: Casey James Sartor, Jacob Ryan Schlais, Alexander John Schroeder, Sara Elizabeth Scott, Kurtis B. Shaw, Thomas Joseph Shea Jr., Dana Nicole Shroyer, Peter Alexander Sieczkiewicz, Maria Valentina Juliet Silvia, Tyler Keith Singletary, Matthew Xavier Smith, Stephanie K. Spence, Thaddeus Markham Spencer, Samantha Jordan Srednicki, Hannah Marie Staley, Brittany Jo Tassias, Colin J. Taylor, Jerimy Wayne Taylor, Kelsey Lane Thomas, Kyle Z. Toth, Erika Jeannette Towne, Madisen Avery Vail, Lauren Paige Valenti, Abigail Lois Volk, Macy Elizabeth Wilcox-Tillett, Collin James Williams, Zachary D. Wing, Kaili June Withrow, Gabrielle Zelepos, Bradley J. Zujus.