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Waterford — At Waterford High School's 53rd commencement ceremony Friday, the 235 graduates who took their seats on the school's football field wore blue caps and gowns.
The sense of unity the class created by wearing the same color was not lost on valedictorian Kierstyn Smith.
"We are all dressed exactly alike for the first time in our lives today," she said. "We stand together, like a herd of overheated synthetic human tent creatures, but we are Lancer blue."
Like many in their position Friday, the graduates were happy to be done but saddened by the idea of leaving the community that they had created for themselves over four years.
"I'm so happy," Felicia Kirchhoff said. "So happy to be done with classes, I mean. I'm still really going to miss everyone here."
Kirchhoff was one of many excited seniors who gathered in the back of the auditorium to take pictures with one another prior to the ceremony.
"It's tough to see people go," Emily Morenzoni said. "It's the last time we'll all be together at school like this."
Still, when the "twenty minutes until graduation" mark was announced to them, a deafening and thunderous round of applause and cheers rang out from among the graduates.
The unity and school spirit of the Class of 2012 was something that stuck out to many of the speakers Friday, including class salutatorians Ally Wang and Stacy Weng, who, in their joint speech, commented on the class' passion and congratulated them on leading the student body by example to win Waterford the title of "Best Student Section" in the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
Junior Class President Michael Spanos commended the graduates for their "incessant hooting and hollering" and for putting school spirit above themselves. He then thanked them for creating what he called "a sense of community and friendship which every proceeding class will try to emulate."
Maximilian Adamson, Nicole Suzanne Ager, Dana Aing, Christopher Alfera, Adriana Frausini Alfiero, Zachary Joseph Amanti, Julia Rose Amburn, Henry Daniel Anderson, James Robert Annello, Joshua James Anton, Arianna H. Athenian, Samantha Lynn Autencio, Jaleesa Marie Avallone, Joseph Julius Ballestrini, Ronald Joseph Baude, Jr., Jamie Alexis Baxter, Eddie John Beltran, Christina Benak, Steven Louis Bennett, Janine Deanna Boiselle, Dylan Bolling, Casey Alan Briggs, Anthony John Browne, Christian Tyler Brunelle, Theresa Buonocore, Kyle Burgess and Megan Concetta Bushwack.
Also: Tyler Andrew Thomas Calzetta, Alyssa Marie Carboni, Cassandra Marie Carignan, Zachary Francis Cash, Casey A. Chabot, Andrew Berry Clark, Kobey Lee Coburn, Paul Jean Marius Concordia, Kelliann Connors, Robert Chet Cook, Rachel Nicole Corcoran, Casey Rachel Corrado, Jessica Marie Corsaletti, Jeffrey Brian Cuadros, Kayla Anne Cusano, Stephanie Gibson Daniels, William Daniels, Jason Bernard Dargie, Nicholas Alfred Darling, Danielle Julie Denton, Justin Paul Dobush, Erin Diane Duthie, Marcus Dyer, Felipe Andres Echavarria, Joshua Robert Elphick, Garrett Fernando, Ryan Michael Finnegan, Alberto Alonso Garcia, Nestor Jose Garcia, Alexa Nicole Garvin, Abby Leigh Gatheral, Brian Gencarelli, Daniel Erick Getty, Andrew Giusti and Elisabeth Arlene Googins.
Also: Jena Veronica Gorra, Aaron Isaiah Gould, Ivonne Marie Graciano, Bryan Robert Grandieri, Angelo Granell, Noah Ari Greenleaf, Jaclyn Elena Greenman, Daniel Patrick Griggs, Brianna Maria Grills, Christine Lynn Hadfield, Rafka Hage, Alyssa Cecelia Hancock, Erica Jade Hanner, Matthew Henn, Saxon Taylor Herbert, Olivia Anne Herter, Christopher Michael Hodges, Nicolas Arthur Horne, Jacob David Howes, Katherine Lynn Hudson, Daniel G. Humbert, Aubrey Marie Johnson, Jessica Lee Johnson, Matthew Ryan Johnson, Quiana Jane Johnson, William-Michael Dakota Jones, Felicia Michelle Kirchhoff, Jean Anna Korth, Olivia Joy Kramer, Joshua Michael Krysiewicz, Derek R. LaBrie, Sharon Nicole Lalonde, Lauren Elizabeth Lamothe and Kassandra Marie Lankerd.
Also: Caitlyn Marie LaSella, Desiree Elizabeth LaVigne, Michael David Lauzon, Devon Paul Lee, Tiffany Z Lee, Shayna Lynn Levine, Madeline C. Lewis, Zachary C. Lewis, Lu Li, Charles Lickwola, Zhihua Liu, Nolan Matthew Long, Tzanina Longinidis, Samantha Mercedes Lord, Amanda Lorentzen, Andres Luciano, Nicholas Ludwig, Evelyn C. Luner, Santos Aaron MacDonald, Kaitlyn Colleen Mahoney, Asem M. Majzoub, Olivia Gilman Mallari, Shane Tigue Manley, Michael Joseph Martin, Adily Martucci, Brianna Nicole Mathiowetz, Max Driscoll Matt, Chad John McBreairty, Meghan McCabe, Collin Denny McCarthy, Nicholas A. McClelland, Geary Andre McLeod, Kalie Nicole Menders, Jordine Mendez and Thomas J. Millaras.
Also: Amy Lynn Miller, Zachary E. Miller, Philip M. Minichino, Alexander Mark Mitteness, Nicole Kathleen Moloney, Nicole Mooney, Emily Lorraine Morenzoni, Jade Elizabeth Morrison, Melanie Mugavero, Cory James Murallo, Felicia Murallo, Colin J. O'Brien, Erin Kaye O'Donnell, Eric C. Ogden, Taylor Jo Ouellette, John Lane Palladino, Andrew James Papathanasiou, Alyssa Mae Parfet, Bansari Shashikant Patel, Cheyenne Elizabeth Payette, Olivia Anne Peay, Evan H. Perkins, Alexis Brennan Persi, Sabrina Maria Pezzello, Emily Elizabeth Picard, Julie Anne Pickett, Katryna Pierce, Christopher William Pina, Danielle Elizabeth Pond, Lucia Katherine Purcell, Shai Jamie Purcell, Marco Anthony Roberto, Kelsey Lynn Roberts, Troy William Roberts, Rebecca Lynn Rogers, Shannon Alexandria Grace Rogers, Cody Clough Rubenstein, Randy Heath Rubenstein and Michael Ruggeri.
Also: Garrett McNamara Russ, Daniel Wilson Santos, Katie Marie Scalia, Colby Dwayne Sears, John H. Secor, Moriah Morghan Shafer, Kevin Charles Shepherd, Y-Kim Solomon Sheppard, Bryam Leonardo Silva, Kenyi Joel Silva, Kimberly Rose Simon, Emily A. Skalski, Kierstyn Mabel Smith, Kimberly Nicolle Smith, Angelica Leigh Sonnema, Rebecca R. Spera, Chelsea Sarah Spielvogel, Anthony Steady, Lauren Jane Stone, Kourtney Joyce Stoy, Casey Sullivan, MacKenzie Rea Sullivan, William Mitchell Sullivan, Jr., Casey John Susi, Richard Edward Swaney, III, Jonathan Thomas, Tatjana Myriah Tidd, Chandler Evan Scott Tittle.
Also: Montara A. Tomasetti, Tatyana Trachishina, Mark Joseph Trask, Jr., Audrey Elizabeth Tripp, Katherine Elizabeth Turner, Bonnie Christine Tynan, Zachary Thomas Tyropolis, Darcy Lynne Van Ness, Brianna Alice Vetel, Anndie Marissa Vigneau, Christopher Frederick Wallace, Alex Lee Wang, Ally Wang, Joshua J. Waterworth, Stacy Yi-Xin Weng, Steven M. Whitehead, Jr., Hunter Wicker, Evelyn Renee Widham, Allie Michelle Wiggins, Kellie Nichole Williams, Nicole Alicia Willox, Jacob Wilson, Ivar Shane Wirta, Jake Robert Wiseman, Alissa Rae Wolfley, Benjamin Yao and Michael John Zeppieri.