Good weather, tradition, reign at Norwich Free Academy

Norwich Free Academy's John Ryer Caruso, right, slaps high fives with his friends as they celebrate at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the NFA Class of 2013 at the school in Norwich Friday, June 21, 2013.
Norwich Free Academy's John Ryer Caruso, right, slaps high fives with his friends as they celebrate at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the NFA Class of 2013 at the school in Norwich Friday, June 21, 2013. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo

Norwich — Norwich Free Academy Head of School David Klein summed up the 155th graduation ceremony Friday with the first formal words of the day spoken from the podium.

"This is a glorious day," Klein said.

NFA's long streak of good weather for the outdoor ceremony remained intact by strange circumstance this year. A fall hurricane, a blizzard and several snow days forced NFA to delay graduation by one week.

Hundreds of people surrounded the NFA athletic field as 476 members of the Class of 2013 and another 54 alumni from the Class of 1963 marched onto the field to take their seats in a longstanding NFA tradition of inviting the class of 50 years ago to celebrate once again.

Class speaker Heather Plecan and Ivy Orator Taras Pleskun both heralded the myriad of experiences they and their classmates have shared at NFA as a great foundation for what lies ahead. With such a large class, Plecan said it shouldn't be surprising if some of her fellow graduates did not know her or the person sitting in the adjacent seat.

"We are a fusion of more than eight towns; a smorgasbord of personalities and a class with diversity of all sorts," she said.

"NFA has done the job of exposing us to the foundations of the pursuits we seek tomorrow," Plecan said. "I am not going to sum up the events of the past four years, because for every single person, the events have been different. Nevertheless, I ask you to appreciate your time at NFA ... and to realize that in some way, your time here influenced you as a person."

Pleskun said Friday's graduation was only "a symbol, not the finish line." The graduates might leave the NFA campus, but their roots remain planted there.

Bob and Rosemary Guile of Uncasville sat in the shade to watch their grandson Dustin Plourde graduate. The family has lived the NFA tradition for decades. Bob Guile was decked out in bright red NFA paraphernalia from his Class of 1961 50th reunion two years ago; he marched onto the field with granddaughter Kassandra Plourde. Rosemary Guile will march in her 50th NFA reunion next year.

"It's a family tradition," she said.

Seated nearby, the Williams family of Norwich might carry those traditions forward. Four young siblings and nine cousins of 2013 NFA graduate Mackenzie Williams held up brightly colored posters to congratulate her.

"That's my baby!" mother Ramona Williams screamed, holding a poster with a 2-year-old Mackenzie with those same words across the paper.

c.bessette@theday.com

Norwich Free Academy Class of 2013

Saheeb Ahmed, Elizabeth Grant Aichele, Ektedar Alam, Maria Luisa Alarcon Sayago, Ashlyn Noel Albert, Alexandria Samley Alcide, Mary Elizabeth Allard, Paige Elizabeth Allen, Hazim Jamal Rayash Alrayashi, Grahm Paul Andruskiewicz, Kenny Alexander Arias, Kristy Alexandra Arias, McKinley Sogo-An Armentia, Kathryn Marie Aronica, Clinton George Babcock III, Derrick Joseph Baez, Jessica Nicole Baldwin, Olivia Leigh Barki, Luis Barragan-Cedillo, Richard Daniel Barrett, Sheila Marie Bartlett, Allyson Samantha Bastien, Anthony Quinn Beard, Katherine Anne Beasley, Tyler Jacob Beauchesne, Monique Anne Beauregard, Courtney Susan Beckwith, Brianna Elizabeth Beebe, Khaleigha Samone Belizaire, Sabrina Paige Benton, Alexander Edward Blais, Haley Rose Blanchard, Brooke Marie Bochese, Jillian Elizabeth Boisclair, Sarah Christina Bolles, Rancier Bonilla Arvelo, Aaron Taylor Bosse, Nicole Natalie Boutin, Matthew Edward Bower, Ryan Joseph Bradley, Heaven Lee Bradshaw, Jeremy Paul Brine, Daniel Marcello Britos, Jordan Lee Britt, Jordyn Alexis Brooks, Cody Russell Brown, Francesca Marie Brown, Dean Robert Browning, Krista Elizabeth Buono, Hunter Anthony Bustamante, Christopher Taylor Byars, Catalina DeCastro Calachan, Emily Catherine Callahan, Evan Jacob Callahan, Nicholas Paul Cardelle, Daniela Cardillo, Eliza Anne Carey, Remington James Carle, John Ryer Caruso, Caleb Philip Carver, Zenaida Luz Casiano, Nicole Taylor Castagna-Longo, Marlene Centeio Alves, Christian Jose Cepeda, Andrea Dora Chabotte, Carl Eric Chancy, Jessica Costello Chandler, Bryan John Chaney, Edgar Charles, Jessica Marie Charron, Luo Li Shan Sophia Chen, Ashley Marie Cholewa, Rafid Raquib Choudhury, Safwat Hasib Choudhury, Megan Marie Civitello, Natasha Brianna Colon, Nathalie Concepcion Mendez, Emily Margaret Coon, Zachary Bernard Coons, Brianna Simone Cooper, Haley Irene Cormier, Corey Todd Costner, Jaron Isaac Cotton, Heather Ranee Courey, Tyler Michael Courter, Quentin Lee Cowan, John Douglas Crooks, Jr., Jocelyn Elizabeth Currier-Dascomb, Ryan Matthew Danis, Michelle Victoria D'Auria, Taylor William Davidson, Khaliah Davis, Gabrielle Elizabeth Dawley, Jonathan Payton de Courcy, Maria Rose DeFosse, Joseph Vincenzo DeMarco, Tyler Stephen DeMerchant, Djeisson DePina, Datona Kerstin DePizzol, Danielle Rose Deschene, Kenly Mike Desir, Samantha Lauren DeVito, Denzel Aaron Dickerson, Kayla Jean Donovan, Jefferson Olivier Doresty, Loriann Kathryn Dozier, Brian Allan Driscoll, Kiara Ophelia-Miere Duarte, Caitlyn Elizabeth Dubreuil, Courtney Rachel Dubreuil, Melissa Eve Duca, Anika Ashanti Dunbar, Tiara Evette Dunn-Sullivan, Michelene Marie Dupuis, Kennedy Lynn Dziengiel, Hannah Payge Eager, Linda Sue Easterling, Dakota Brandon Eckenrode, Celita Emilien, Alana Eileen Ericson, Zachary Cosmo Evert, Kathryn Elizabeth Farrell, Sean Michael Feeley, Joseph Patrick Feeney, Travis Mark Felicetti, Phaimir Felix, Kimberly Rose Filiatreault, Ryan Avery Fish, Michael Lee Fisher, Jr., Curtis James Flanders, Amy Flores, Angela Nicolle Flores-Alcalde, Ashonti Lexus Flowers, Elisa Cristine Formiglio, Brittany Ann Fortin, Shannon Sarah Fowler, Alexa Colonna Franchetti, Alexyss Dena Fuller, Ana Fernanda Funes, Katherine Ann Gabriele, Megan Elizabeth Gada, Shannondoa Fitzgerald Gaertner, Benjamin Tyler Galligan, Jubilee Nicole Garay Colon, Amanda Vidya Garcia, Ismael Garcia, Tahkaylea Shontay Garcia, Kyleen Elizabeth Garrison, Jamie Lynn Gartley, Adrianna Leigh Gillis, Leah Marie Gionet, Christopher Felix Gladue, Kimberly Godin, Anthony Jai Gomes, Jesus Gonzalez, Corey Allen Goodyear, Logan Michael Gordon, Andrea Victoria Goulart, Alexander Nicolas Gowlis, Brittany Ann-Marie Grabill, Christopher Lee Gray, Taylor Ashley Gray, Kirby Elizabeth Greene, Chenoa Adia Greenlee, James MarKeith Gromko-Adams, Jammil Cuver Guerrero Ceron, Tyler Anthony Guertin, Andy Guo, Idreece Raymond Hadley, Dyllon Josephe Hafner, Sybil Iman Hall, Rachel Jae Ham, Joshua Ray Harrington, Bryon William Harris, Matthew Charles Harris, Hannah Mae Hasbargen, Christopher Glenn Hasbrouck II, Tyler Joseph Hayslip, Amy Melissa Hemond, Kenneth Thompson Hemond, Jacob Thomas Hensch, Julian Hernandez, Haley Quinlynn Herring-Sylvestre, Bryce Elizabethe Hill, Jazmine Elizabeth Hinds, Pamela Elaine Hine, Essence Unique Hodge, Wesley Thomas Hodge, Deanna Marie Hooper, Chelsea Marie Houchins, Chelsea Lynn Houston, Rachel Lynn Howe, Casey Junmin Huang, Shirley Yan Huang, Alyssa Rose Hunt, Carly Elizabeth Hust, Ryan Patrick Jacksin, Alyssa Nicole Jackson, Alexis Amber Jacques, Lherisson Emelin Jean-Louis, Jazmyn Octavia Jenkins, Kayla Campbell Jessing, Luis Jimenez, Jonathan Efrain Jimenez Garcia, Christopher Jacob Johnson, Dominique Jermer Johnson, Jerimiah Yves Joseph, Tevin Guito Jourdain, Milza Jozile, Timothya Safi Kachmar, Jordan Alexander Kaiser, Alysha Marie Kalinowski, Nicholas Adi Kamireddy, Donovan Michael Kelleher, John Patrick Kelly, Allison Suzanne Kerr, Patricia Jeanne Knight, Cristina Marie Knowles, Marissa Elizabeth Kogut, Kyle Allen Konow, Carl Jacob Krauss, Jordan Devon Krueger, Nicole Miko Kuhn, Duoma Lamo Kunga, Sarah Michelle LaCombe, Emily Marcia Lamontagne, Hubert Junior Lamy, Denzel Rashan Lancaster, Julian Miles Laureano, Ryan Edward Lawrence, Shadé Denika Lazenby, Donna Ann Le, Austin James Lee, Feng Mei Lei, Brianna Kathleen Lenehan, Samantha Leong, Martin Gonzales Lewerk, Patrick Michael Lewis, Gavin Li, He Jin Li, Kyle Liang, Xin Lin, Kevin Arthur Lindell, Jr., Kelsey Nicole Lisiewski, Mackenzie Pamela Cristina Little, Willy Liu, Kara Elizabeth Long, Zoe Elizabeth Longendyke, Aaron James Lord, Micaela Danielle Loubier, Yvena Louigene, Ryan Gregory Lusk, David Ben Ly, Christina Marie Lynch, Elizabeth Arlene Mahan, Courtney Nicole Majcher, Steven Andrew Makowicki, Michael Allan Mallette-Davis, Giona Louis Mancuso, Lesli Carol Manrique, Persephone Joan Marien, Olivia Elizabeth Marks, Hannah Dorothy Mary Marshall, Kennedy Ann Marshall, Albany Raquel Martinez, Daiana Maria Martinez, Jasmine Amanda Martinez, Nathaniel Riley Maruscsak, David Martin Masse, Marcus Alexander Maulucci, Brianna Lee McClafferty, Abigail Lynne McConnell, Sabrina Clauber McCrane Bettencourt, Melissa Rachel McCulley, William Petrie McIntosh, Elizabeth Anne McLean, Connor Patrick McMahon, Amber Lynn McNally, Stephanie Ann Menders, Cheyenne Whitney Michelli, Brenna Hildebrand Miner, Olinda Briseida Miranda Torres, Rubi Jesus Miranda Torres, Joseph Patrick Mitchell, Erin Grace Moebus, Gabrielle Elise Mohan, Brittany Athena Molkenthin, Christian José Monsegur, Kevin O'Neil Monsegur, Geoffrey Macaulay Montgomery, Hilda Milagros Montoya Alarcón, Javier Morales, Shelby Lynne Moreau, Scott Francis Moreland, Jr., Daniela Moreno, Natasha Marie Morgan, Justin Hunter Morin, Brittany Lynn Mosteller, Ivy Florence Murch, Miguel Leon Murphy, Joseph Matthew Muscarella, Mikaela Anne Narciso, Seritta Lee Norige, Gloria Faith Ann Norris, Jacadi Enid Novoa-Vasquez, Andrew Robert Nyman, Alexus Marissa Ohar, Jacqueline Mae O'Leary, Cory Patrick O'Malley, Hillary Ruth Onton Espinoza, Paulette Yemian Oquendo Virella, Julia Rose O'Rourke, Amanda May Osowski, Emily Sue Overturf, Megan Freda Overturf, Destiny Marie Pabon-Rodriguez, Erick Edwin Palomino, Joseph Frank Paparelli, Chrystiana Paschalides, Maria Annelise Patsopoulos, Jake Allen Paulman, Simon Matthew Paulsen, Noel Paige Peltier, Dyshelle Elizabeth Pemberton, Damien J. Penn, Kimberly Lorraine Perez Hernandez, Hencil Eligio Perez Olivo, Grace Kathleen Perkins, Justin Christopher Perras, Todd Allen Perry, Jr., Zachary Thomas Peter, Sydney Claire Phelps, Brenna Lee Phillips, Toni Annekeya Shadre Phillips, Kylie Rose Pickford, John George Pillar III, Giovanni Antonio Pinto, Alexa Concetta Plante, Samantha Rose Plante, Heather Lynn Plecan, Taras Lewis Victorovich Pleskun, Dustin Pierre Plourde, Cody Michael Poirier, Caterina Arianna Poletti, Melanie Dona Poore, Ellen Rachel Popinchalk, Victoria Marie Porter, Daniel Alan Portofee, Edwin Charl Portugal, Jr., Tiana Jazelle Powell, Donald G. Predmore, Jr., Iesha Ann Preston, Kashif Aslam Qadri, Sandra Deseray Rall, Alexander Edward Raymond, Nicholas Alexander Read, Adelghanie Registre, Emily Marie Reguin, Lavelle Manuel Rendon-Neal, Karina Esther Requeno, Haley Ann Riley, Felix Omar Rivas, Jeremy Edvardo Rivera, Savannah Rivera, Johnny Rene Rivera Rodriguez, Yaniel Rivera-Cruz, Damian Edward Robbins, Devin Matthew Robbins, Savanna Lee Robillard, Keith Najee Robinson, Arlete Antonia Rodrigues, Jaqueline Helena Rodrigues Monteiro, Victoria Elisabeth Rodriguez, Kian James Rolfe, Rachelle Lee Rolfe, John Welcome Rollinson II, Angeluis Gilberto Rosario, Amber Lynn Royster, Matthew Daniel Ruffo, Jacinda Ann Ruggs, John Dominic Russo, Shelby Lynn Sabrowski, Nathan Chester Sajkowicz, Richard Scott Salva, Andrew Joseph Samborski, Carissa Leann Sanborn, Frangelis Sanchez, Abdiel Santos Delgado, Sorna Sarker, Madison McDermott Sauer, Iris Marie Savaria, Erin Lucille Schaeffer, Everett Karl Schramm, Katherine Elizabeth Shea, Emalee Morganne Shrewsbury, Rachel Gabrielle Signorino, Kendall Gomes Simmons, Zoe Jing Sinay, Bailey Marie Smith, Samuel Prosper Smith, Ronny Isandra Tavares Soares, Magda Elena Soto Enciso, Hannah Alice Spicer, Preston Scott Spicer, Reagan Victoria Standley, Heather Ann Stanley, Rikki Leigh Stark, Andrew Joseph Steele, Ellen Kathleen Sterry, Jillian Marie Stevenson, Ariana Marie Stewart, Bethany Ann Stone, Ryan Patrick Stowe, Justin Robert Sulich, Margaret Confrey Sullivan, Elise Ann Swanson, Veronica Tracey Swiatkowski, Savannah Paulette Szymanski, Amber Dawn Tate, Catherine Rose Tate, Madeline Hayden Teixeira, Bethany Rose Telgarsky, Daniel Jared Thevenet, Alexis Jayna Tootell, Jemily Tatiana Torres, Joseph Anthony Trahan, Nicholas David Trahan, John Paul Traini, James F. Tramontozzi, Mikaela Juliet Trzesniowski, Alexis Jean Underwood, Micaela Lynn Utz, Abigail Nardo Van Vlaenderen, Angeliz Idanis Vargas-Casillas, José Guillermo Vega, Zachary Scott Verley, Matthew Christopher Vessey, Jesus Jonathan Villena, Shane Benjamin Vincent, Michele Cassandra Vital, Latajanee Dominique Volkerts, Joseph Thomas Wagner, Joseph Malik Walczyk, David Michael Walencewicz, Courtney Elizabeth Walker, Stephen Joseph Walkup, William Charles Wallace, Ryan Jackson Way, Tyler David Way, Chelsea Ann Welch, Kenny Gin Wen, Steven Kit Wen, Kirsten Irene Wesolek, Leah Doris Wessels, Justin Michael West, Trevon Lee Wiggins, Bradley Edward Willey, Mackenzie Taneice Williams, Curtis Grant Wilson, Gilia Elizabeth Wilson, Gilin Lama Wilson, Gilio Wilson, Kiante Marie Wilson, Dakota Martin Wonnacott, Chaohua Wu, Ethan Bennett Yarish, Mai-Lynn Ayana Yim, Jamie Lynn Young, Kyle Christopher Young, Angie Alexandra Yraita, Yan Mei Zhao.

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POLL

The third week of June brings the annual barrage of southeastern Connecticut high school graduation ceremonies. What do you remember from yours?

My parents embarrassed me from the audience.

1%

It's amazing what I don't remember.

71%

Tripping as I walked up to accept my diploma.

1%

Sweating in the cheesy, nylon gown.

21%

I was scattering from all my friends, so I cried.

5%

Number of votes: 680

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