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Waterford High grads told: 'Give it all you have'

By Julianne Hanckel

Publication: theday.com

Published June 25. 2013 9:00PM   Updated June 26. 2013 12:33AM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Nataly Estrin, center, screams with joy as she and her friends gather after receiving their diplomas Tuesday during Waterford High School's commencement ceremony.

Waterford — During Waterford High School's 54th commencement ceremony, valedictorian Gabriel Morosky said real life was just beginning.

"Graduating took a lot of effort, but high school isn't real life, and it's crucially important to recognize that," he said. "What we learned in math for example, are just the fundamental pieces of discipline. What we learned in history is just an overview. We've spent little time as critical-thinking adults."

This year's graduating class members will scatter across the country as they move into the next phase of their lives, the superintendent of schools said, addressing a sea of graduates clad in Lancer blue caps and gowns.

"This is the time where you get to recreate yourselves and get a fresh start. How many times can you say that in life?" Superintendent Jerome Belair said. "Diplomas are your ticket to the world."

This year's seniors also have a distinction that they can call their own: They are the last senior class to leave the old Waterford High School and the first senior class to graduate from the new Waterford High School.

First Selectman Daniel Steward, a 1968 graduate of Waterford High, told the graduates that they are the success the town has hoped for.

He challenged them to continue to embrace the advances technology has made in the 21st century but to also look forward to what's to come.

Principal Donald Macrino, who will retire this month after 17 years, said that throughout the construction process, the class retained its sense of humor, rolled with the punches and did not complain. Construction of the high school started in 2010, and staff moved in while students were on April vacation. The town has since begun demolition of a portion of the former high school.

As a pile of rubble lay behind the graduates, Macrino said there was a "tinge of sadness."

"As we look beyond that pile, there's pride and there's promise. ... You have crossed the finish line victorious and have arrived at yet another starting line," he said. "Rest for a moment and gather all your strength for the next run. Give it all you have."

j.hanckel@theday.com

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