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Old Lyme — The sun shone brightly on the field by Lyme-Old Lyme High School Friday evening as blue and white balloons bobbed in the breeze, and the senior class — in blue and white robes to match — warmly remembered their high school years and congratulated each other on their bright futures.
In their speeches, students and staff recounted shared accomplishments, from athletic and artistic competitions, to successes by robotics and math teams. They shared collective laughs at inside jokes about teachers and senior pranks and held hands during the choral rendition of the song “For Good,” the lyrics of which state: “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Class President David Peck said that the changes he has seen in his fellow classmates over the years, much like the changes they have witnessed during four years of construction of their high school, have left them able to “mold and adapt to any situation.”
Principal Jim Wygonik reminded the 113 graduates that they shared their accomplishments not only with each other, but also with family, friends and community members who filled the seats and stood together on the lawn. Wygonik told the class that their biggest fans were those people behind them.
Commencement speaker and English teacher Jennifer Burke praised students for their proven ability to “unite what they need to do with what they love to do.” She said the class gave her “great hope for our collective future.”
Essayist Isabel Ritrovato reminded the class that, while their successes and accomplishments made them great, it was their willingness to fail first that gave their achievements value.
“What about all the times we have failed? ... Without those times, our success would be irrelevant and immeasurable,” Ritrovato said. “Failure … is the only way for us to learn and grow.”
Salutatorian Robert Melchreit, giving his speech without his cap on because he said it kept falling off, urged his classmates to continue making efforts to create change in the world.
“When we produce ideas … when we change minds, we make waves,” Melchreit said. “Our waves become a force for change.”
Valedictorian Isabelle Foster acknowledged the changes she and her classmates have gone through since freshman orientation, during which she remembered receiving two pencils and promising herself to sharpen one on the first day of high school and the other on the last.
She stood at the podium and in front of friends and family and sharpened the second pencil. Holding it up, she told her classmates, “… Each of us has the ability to write our path. We have sole control of our future. What we write can last through history.”
Benjamin Evan Abraham, Megan Elizabeth Astley, Fiona Maire Barrett, Maria Nicole Basileo, Samantha Ellison Beers, Eric Martel Behringer, Hannah Katherine Behringer, Mikayla Ann Bellaria, Madelin Kelly Berry, Marley Joann Bocian, Taylor McKernan Bourne, Meredith Linda Britton, Phoebe Louise Brown, Allison Leigh Buckley, Tucker Douglas Burr, William Joseph Buscetto Jr., Kristina Yang Cain, Shawn Francis Caramante, Jack Robert Castonguay, Daniel Lawrence Chapman, Charles Taylor Clark, Philip Michael Cohen, Ryan Patrick Comerford, Aidan James Cotter-Garfield, Mercedes Rose Crespo, Emily Ann Czarnecki, Jeffrey Allen Davis, Cameron Amado De Los Santos, Dillon Michael Dean-Frazier, Hanna Michelle DeBruyn, Jennifer Casey Dill, Michael Sergi Dolishny, Jackson Michael Driscoll, Jenna Catherine Duxbury, Chelsea Ann Evankow.
Russell Tyler Faircloth, John Thomas Fairfield-Sonn, Paige Nicole Flagge, William Clyde Fogle, Isabelle Sophie Foster, Siera Ashley Frascarelli, John Cotter Freer, Trent William Garbati, Madalyn Helen Gibson-Williams, Sarah Jane Golden, Corina Maria Goodson, Madelyne Rose Grabowski, Abigail Mary Guitar, Olivia Adriana Hack, Philip Edward Peter Hallwood, Olivia Ann Henderson, Collyn Tyler Herel, Alexander Tappan Hine, Peter Trumbull Hine, Samuel Holcombe, Joab Napoleon Hunt, Cooper Joseph Kendall, Kaetlin Alexandria Kolar, Sarah Konishesky, Emily Morgan Kramm, Joshua Levi Krasney, Erin Jane Kroes, Hannah Lee Lacey, Brianna Fantasia Landry, Jessica Ann Lee, Jacob Carlson Martin, Kelly Gabrielle Mastrianna, Gavin Patrick McCarthy.
Nicholas Ryan McKnight, Robert Charles Melchreit, Morgan Elizabeth Merrick, Nicholas Max Milazzo, David Richard Muckle, Kyle Patrick O’Neil, Jeffrey Thomas Paine, Dimitri Thomas Papasian, David Larson Peck, Ella Ruth Pilgrim, Amy Yuxuan Qian, Kaleigh Laura Reynolds, Graham Wheeler Richartz, Kaylin Nicole Riggs, Isabel Trew Ritrovato, Sean Michael Robertson, Seth Taylor Rohrberg, Lauren Anna Romeo, Stuart Caldwell Ross, Michael Patrick Rouillard, Erick Martinez Saenz, Spencer Stansfield Saunders, Machlan James MacDonald Sawden, Alison Ann Scott, Elizabeth Ann Scott, William Jamieson Scott, William Everett Sherer, Alexis Heap Sibley, Chase Dalton Sielbeck, Emma Winifred Stanton, Keriann Claire Sullivan, Sierra Madison Sunshine, Joseph Dean Sweeney, Tatianna Nicole Thompson, David Harrison Tiffany, Meghan Elizabeth Trausch, Cole David Turner, Christian John Valli, Jacob Pierson Watts-St.Germain, Lisa Ann Weigle, Kaylyn Mara Wiese, Stephen Joseph Williams Jr., Brian Alexander Wolfe, Shennandoah Marie Wordell, Laura Munling Yee.