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Waterford - Waterford High School's 190 seniors were the first to graduate Wednesday after completing a full year at the new high school filled with 21st century gadgets such as interactive white boards and Wi-Fi in every room and thus have high expectations to meet.
"You are the class who has pioneered and honed what we as adults call 21st century learning and skills, and now it's time for you to bring these skills to the world and make it a better place," said Waterford Superintendent Jerome R. Belair.
Students lined up on the new football field wearing vibrant blue gowns to accept their diplomas and take in the moment, as Principal Andre Hauser instructed them to do.
"Right now it feels like this year has gone by in a crazy blur," Hauser said. "... Life is like that. It keeps happening, whether we are ready for it or not, but every so often I suggest that you stop, look around, reflect on where you are and who you are and just appreciate the moment. Do it now. This is one of those moments.
"Whatever you do with your lives, make sure that the world is a better place because you were in it," he said. "Do something meaningful, do something that helps someone else, do it well and have a great time doing it."
Student leaders encouraged the students to be curious, passionate and keep practicing to make progress. Salutatorian Alan Luner said that for the past several years, students have dutifully studied what teachers have assigned. Now, as adults, they must seek their own learning opportunities, he said.
"We need a powerful sense of curiosity to drive us to explore and learn from the world. Without it, we risk becoming ignorant and boring people," Luner said.
Valedictorian Marisa Boch told the students to look at life as a dancer does.
As modern dancer Martha Graham said, "We learn by practice, whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same," she said.
She told the students not to be discouraged by bruises or mistakes but rather to practice in order to make progress.
"The end of one rehearsal is the beginning of another," she said. She said that to really live, one must have passion in his or her life.
"As you continue on your next step of your journey, I challenge you to find your passion in life," she said.
Michele Smarz of Waterford said her daughter Alexia Smarz, who graduated on Wednesday, was doing just that. She wants to work on a cruise ship and study business management after earning her associate degree from Three Rivers Community College, Smarz said.
"That's her dream job," she said.
The Waterford High School Class of 2014
Nizida Valiuska Acharte, Lucas Tanner Alloway, Kellie Elizabeth Anderson, Emily Alessandra Anglace, Hannah Nicole Antley, Devin Amelia Appleby, Kara Jo Applegate, Cesar Enrique Arevalo, Michael E. Arteaga, Savonnah Ré Artis, Mariah Kristelle Balestracci, Michael Vincent Bartelli, Allora May Beebe, Deanna Marie Bennett, Jeremy Michael Benson, Christopher J. Berrios, Marisa Emily Boch, Olivia-Nicole Mauricio Bueno, Sage Amelia Caristo-Mobley, Alyssa Christine Carson, Kristin Casey, Kyle Y Chung, Melissa Lynn Close, Jesse Joseph Coates, Sarah Isabella Coiro, Casey Michael Collins, Mitchell Ross Cote, Christopher D. Craig, John Joseph Crowley, Adam Joseph Darling, Casey Linden David, Michael DeBiasi, Malia Gloria DelaCruz, Raquel Delgadillo, Yuberki Delgadillo, Joseph Nicholas DiSabella, Benny Dong, Brooke Donnellan, Kelley Marie Dugan, Megan Brittany Elphick, Kelsey Rose Ericson.
Nicolette Paige Fardon, Nicholas Feeney, Jessica Lynn Fontaine, Malik Bryce Forrest, Cassidy Carol Friedlander, Michael Patrick Furlan, Christina Marie Furr, Joshua William George, Julio S. Gil-Martinez, Adam Winfield Goss, Nicole Kathleen Grabner, David Russell Green, Micah Bristol Greenleaf, McKenzie Kennington Griffith Potter, Jessica Lynn Grote, Josef Dylan Gustafson, Daniel Joseph Haggan, Joseph G. Hajj, Raelyn Mikell Hall, Benjamin John Hammel, Kristen Elizabeth Cecilia Hanner, Colin T. Harrington, Tricia Leigh Hauser, Amber W. Heenan, Riley Joseph Henault, Christopher Hersom, Jr., Ryan Hessling, Elizabeth Rose Hoadley, Seth Hoagland, Christopher S. Horwath, Adam Heller Howard, Nicholas John Huff, Jesse R. Hunt, Melissa Evette Iglesias, Matthew S. Jalbert, Schneider Jean-Pierre, Jared Victor Job, Chloe S. Johnson, Mark Hudson Jones, Shashwat Kala, Lauren So Kang, Kristian Karanxha, Amy Karlberg, Jacob Keating, James Kisling, Dylan William Konakowitz, Kalia Egypt Kornegay, Marcus Alden Krodel, Matthew Michael Labrecque.
Nina Lauren LaBrie, Nicholas Raymond LaFever, Grant King Larson, Phoebe Luo Lee, Christopher Dylan Leffert, David Bruno Leon, Justin Lennart Lindblom, Annie E. Lion-Lee, NaKeisha Raychel Little, Genaya Ann Loftis, Yianni Longinidis, Zachary Loomis, Katelyn Marie Losacano, Alan Samuel Luner, Allyson Marie Magistri, Ahmad Majzoub, Hamza Malik, Kathleen Olivia Manley, Daniel Thomas Martin, Grace Lorean Martino, Anthony Martucci, Alyssa Jean Mathiowetz, Jenna Matyas, Kathryn Ann McCabe, Rory McCormick, Joshua James McDonough, Acacia Rilke McDowell, Connor Greenwood Megan, Jordyn Rose Meyenberg, Jeffrey Scott Miller Jr., Mitchell Joseph Mirabito, Alexandra Mullane Moger, Jose Manuel Molina, Jordan Thomas Morency, Justin Robert Morency, Christopher Morris, Reginald Mac Muenzner, Sanjana Murdande, Megan E. Nailon, Nikko Anthony Nicastro, Genevieve Nancy Besier Nuttall, Hannah Lauren Patrick, Jacob Connover Peabody, Julia Christine Peay, Emily Antoinette Pepin, Joshua Perry, Thomas Pezzolesi, Sereyvuth Phan, Sara Anne Pickowitz, Taylor Pierce, Alex Raymond Reynolds, Christopher A. Reynolds, John Carlo Roberto, Karl Roos, Carlos Luis Rosario Gonzalez, Jimm Markey Roscover, Nathaniel B Ross, Ashli Rossi.
Ian John Sajkowicz, Catherine Lindsey Sargent, Aaron Matthew Schwartz, Tyler Sears, Alyssa Hope Serafino, Kacey Severin, Rebecca Katherin Shafer, Neel Jaymin Shah, Daesha Jae Shinault, Kayla Presley Shaw, Lyndsay N. Shea, Bishme M. Sheppard, Dylan Joseph Slattery, Alexia Marie Smarz, Brentt Jon Smith, Ryan Christopher Smith, Briana Sotiropoulos, Melina Spanos, Samuel Madara Strout, Elaina Sullivan, Hannah Swanson, Kelsey Jane Swinburne, Amanda Marie Terry, Krystal Amelia Thomas, Kaylee Maria Thurlow, Noah Alexander James Todd, Tarlynn Nichole Tone-Pah-Hote, Anthony C. Torres, Amanda Elizabeth Tourjee, Zenteal Laché Turner, Jayse O. Tyropolis, Allison Leigh Verity, Justin Robert Virga, Ryan Joseph Vitko, Robert Vose, Courtney Wells, William Guy Wendland, Patrick Ryan Whitehead, Juanita Andrea Wilbur, Paige Taylor Wilkinson, Nicola Ashlee Wiseman, Jacob Zoubek.