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Groton — Holding in his hand a list of the 121 graduates from Ella T. Grasso Technical High School Class of 2014, State Board of Education member Charles Jaskiewicz on Friday told graduates they were the “new future heroes that deal with reality.”
Professional athletes, actors and actresses may be idolized, Jaskiewicz said, but they are not grounded in reality. Students of the state trade schools like Grasso are, he said.
“You’re going to make sure my plumbing works and I have water to take a shower; that my car runs and I can drive to work; that I have electricity in my house; that the beautician class cuts the last six remaining hairs on my head,” he said.
Grasso students graduated one of 11 trade divisions that included bio-science environmental technology, plumbing and heating, electrical, automobile repair, carpentry or culinary arts.
Class Valedictorian Tristan Pepin of Ledyard studied drafting and design and said he was well-positioned to start studies in mechanical engineering. He plans to start his studies at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus and later move to the main campus in Storrs.
Pepin said he followed in the footsteps of family members who had attended Grasso, attracted to a school he said “offered two full educations,” referring to the academics and trade studies.
“I have skills I wouldn’t have been able to get at any other school in the region,” he said.
In the address to his fellow grads, Pepin asked students to stay curious and to continue innovating, that their education did not end with high school.
Grasso Principal Patricia Feeney reminded graduates to contribute and give back to their communities, that there was no substitute for hard work and that no one wants to hear excuses.
“Life is more than about making money and looking out for yourselves,” she said. “There is time for that.”
Aurora Abad, Caroll Adrianzen, Albalys Alvarez, Anita Anderson, Tyler Andrews, Jonathan Aquino, Joseph Atkinson, Angelina Attinello, Jacob Bergeson, Nicholas Bonner, Patrick Boughton, Sean Boulay, Aryel Brosnan, Damian Brower, Allen Burpee, Daniel Cartagena, Joseph Chamberlin, Ritanna Chiren, Edgardo Colmenares, Meaghan Covey, Tommy De La Cruz, Eduardo De Roux, Trendon Dees, Crystal Diaz, Richard Diaz, Laura Diaz-Chia, Nicholas Dittner, Michael Dorsey, Christopher Eddings, Michael Erazo, Adrina Farwell, Alondra Feliciano, Elpidio Felipe, Ryan Fletcher, Fernando Galvez, Amanda Gannetta, James Gauthier, Paul Georgetti, Mccrae Gomes, Sydney Gomez-Martinez, Katelynn Gosselin, David Gozzo, Christopher Grant Winsborrow, Kiana Guzman, Ciara Hamilton, John Hammer, Chayne Hellwig, Nathaniel Hickey, Noelle Hooper-Hartmann.
Lewis Howland, Daniel Huacho, Mikaela Hughes, Donald Hunter, Ryan Huston, Trevor Hutchinson, Tonia Johnson, Raymond Juska, Thomas Kane, Ryan Knotts, Matthew LaCroix, Roslynn Ladyka, Brandon Lancaster, Joaneta Laurent, Koralee Lawrence, Alicia Martin, Amarilys Martinez, David Mason, Cody McPartland, Xiomarie Mendoza, Eleni Miner, J'Quan Monroe, Robert Murray, Angel Negron, Alana Niedjadlo, Anybelka Nunez, Patrick O'Rourke, Pamela Oliveras, Amanda Overton, Cassandra Palmieri, Ryan Pendleton, Tristan Pepin, Caleb Percy, Daniel Perkins, Connor Perry, Trent Pink, Estephany Portocarrero, Patrick Previty, Elijah Pysyk, Abigail Rabon, Jared Ramos, Lucas Revoir, Kira Richards, Alexis Rivera, Ambar Rivera, Joel Rivera, Adbel Rodriguez, Nicole Rodriguez, Miguel Roman, Keysha Salgado, Joshua Sampson, Meaghan Sanchez, Delianna Santana Cruz, Dominic Santiago, Tiffany Schroeder, Harlie Sellman, Dawn Shafer, Adrian Silva, Dion Small, Royal Snyder, Adam Sullivan, Dale Sullivan, Stalone Sylvestre, Brandon Tassias, Cheyenne Tomlin, Justin Van Dyke, Kevin Vazquez, Luis Vazquez, Tyler Voels, Lillian Von Winkle, Mason Wheeler, Alex Zinz.