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Groton — Mary and Norman Kluepfel have watched seven graduations in as many years as the grandkids finished high school, and it never gets old.
“We’re so proud of this boy,” Mary Kluepfel said of Timothy Flynn, 18, their grandson and among the more than 280 students to graduate Robert E. Fitch High School Friday. Hundreds of family members, friends and relatives packed the stands at Dorr Field to watch the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas.
The class included two all-state musicians, 32 all-Eastern Connecticut Conference athletes, the Connecticut Gatorade athlete of the year and 171 students who received 484 honor cords for academic excellence all four years.
Salutatorian Sarah Dinovelli urged her classmates to use their gifts to improve the world and to not be satisfied with injustice.
“People say life isn’t fair,” she said. “But maybe that’s because we haven’t tried hard enough to make it so.”
She added that power can be found in art, writing, athleticism and other gifts. “You can always use your gifts to make the world a little bit greater,” she said.
Class President Adam Jacey told his classmates that life doesn’t always go as planned, and that can be a good thing.
“Plan A is not necessarily superior to Plan B,” he said. “It’s just different.” He said he learned lessons in unexpected ways, and some of his best friends are people he didn’t appreciate as a freshman.
Corina Pinder, the student commencement speaker, told the class that sometimes their efforts will fail, but they must believe in the next day.
“Every ‘no’ that life throws us will only bring us closer to our ‘yes,’” she said.
She also told them to show kindness. “You never know where people are at in their lives, and sometimes all they need is for someone to care,” she said.
James Hall watched his oldest of three, Alexis Hall, 18, graduate.
“It’s very rewarding because she’s worked really hard,” he said. Hall plans to study forensic science at the University of New Haven in September, he said. “She said she wants to run the FBI.”
Flynn, who played in the marching band at Fitch, is going to college to become a biochemist, his grandmother said.
“He’s the best kid,” Kluepfel said. “Smart as a whip.”
Editor's note: This version updates the graduation list to include a student whose name had been omitted.
Reiniza Aldueso Abandula, Alexandra Marie Abbiati, Peyton Elizabeth Allen, Joseph Leonard Allyn, Elba Mercedes Alvarez, De'Vante George Anderson, Robert Chrisman Anderson, Grant Apthorp-Baker, Ryan Paul Archer, Jaclyn Nicole Arnold, Bea Aina Asuncion, Tabatha May Aylor, Stephanie Leanne Babb, Shelby Nicole Beatty, Jacob Alexander Benavidez, Steve Alberto Blanco, Kendra Sun Yung Blomstedt, Christina Marie Francesca Medalla Bonnevie, Carl Montrell Brandon, Jr., Madeline Marie Brenneisen, Amanda Nicole Brown, Kayla Madeline Brown, Nicole Alysia Brown, Zyaire Aljameik Brown, Jeffery Arthur Bryant, Dahlton Colby Bryson, Matthew Evan Buechel, Maria Gabriela Burgeson, Heidi Patricia Butler, Sheridan Onquie Butler, Haseeb Rubani Butt, Michelle Lynn Campbell, Samuel Flynn Caramante, Madeline LeFleur Carney, Ryan David Cassidy, Lisa Chan, Zhan Da Chan, Kathryn Nicole Charette, Karen Chen, Danielle Lynn Chirillo, Jessica Ruth Clapper, Joseph Adam Clark, Susan Ann Collins, Joseph Mitchell Conahan, Gabriella Corado.
Aleros Cordero Espinal, Xavier Joshua Crawford, Rafael Crisostomo, Addison Grace Cummings, Michael Anthony Currier, Justin Almonina D'Angelo, Kaleigh Brie Davis, Brooke Chandler Davison, Rica Fuerte De Dios, Brandon Seth De La Cruz, Evelyn Ashlie Destin, Dakota Michael Dickson, Kevin Travis Dingman, II, Sarah Megan Dinovelli, Colleen Grace Dollard, Nicole Ada Duffy, Michael Christopher Dull, Alana Marie Dumey, Mark Anthony Dunning, Jr., Shareah Carin Dye, Kelsey Lynne Ellery, Amani Chantel Elmore, Aidan Michael Ely, Caroline Sara Entwistle, Nejat Ahmed Eshetu, Marc Anthony Evans, Mark Paul Evans, Mindy Fan, Benjamin James Fenty, Jade Roslyn Ferguson, Avery Elizabeth Fiftal, Jonathan Jair Figueroa Mercado, Joshua Thomas Fillion, Hannah Stephanie Finton, Kurt Thomas Fitzgerald, Timothy Alan Flynn, Ryan M. Frank, Christopher Scott Freeman, Chloe Dorothy Froton, Stone Austin Fulton, Michael James Gaiewski, Julie Rosali Garay, Zackary Maurice Garcia, Jessica Marie Gerald, Nathan Michael Giesing, Odessa Brown Glaza, Faith Elizabeth Gordon, Dominic Peter Gray, Jordan Brian Green, Richard Kenneth Greider, Jr., Cody Odis Grundy, Rachel Fayerhart Gruner, Jackson Gray Gunderman, Alexis Marie Hall, Cooper James Halvordson, Anthony Edward Lamar Hamlin, Jr., Nicholas Cole Hampton, Willie Andre Harris, Amber Lee Harton.
Sylvia Mia-Rhea Hazel, Justin Michael Healy, Gerard Charles Henderson, Zachery John Higgins, Garrett Everett Hodgdon, Carl Thomas Hogsten, III, Janelleen Kerbrena Holloway, Kaitlyn Rene' Holm, Jingxuan Huang, Jingyi, Huang Jason William Isom, Jr., Meghan Lynne Ivey, Raheem Edwin Ivy, Adam Michael Jacey, Nicole Paris Jackson, Edward Ray Jacome, Kyle Jonathan Jalbert, Tavoia Shanae' James, Ryan Alexander Johnson, Charles Edward Johnson-Rivera, Robert David Johnston, Corey Jack Jones, Samantha Marie Jordan, Zahra Amin Kamel, Kevin Hokunani Kaneakua, Melissa Anne Kaniecki, Jade Maryrose Kaplan, Lucas Montgomery Kaylor, Taylor Lynn Kelsey, Jordan Stephen Kenyon, Kelly Jean Kerst, Dominique Nicole Khouri, Makada Jasmine King, James Michael Kintner, Tory Michael Knaff, Marcello Giovanni Knox-Vilchez, Jacklyn Francis Kokomoor, Madeline Gibson Kotfer, Duane Andrew LaChance, Jr., Crystal Shaye LaCrosse, Vanessa KaHei Lam, Tyler Daniel Latham, Anthony Taijan LeBlanc, Jacob Morgan Lee, Shawn Sanghoo Lee, Devin James Lehman, Cassandra Lynn Leuchner, Jim Lin, Darcelle Lindor, Madeline Mairead Little, Dylan Robert Lombardi, Paul James Lombardi.
Todd Aaron Lonergan, Jr., Susannah Fredericka Lucey, Andrew Jia Ming Luo, Jordan McKenzie Lyle, Desiree Marie Lynch, Gabriel Elijah Madrigal, Bailey Melissa Mahler, Ariel Gayle Main, MaKayla Alexis Main, Ruyah Mahmoud Mansour, Mercedes Darlene Manzanares, Ivannah Maris Martinez, Thomas Hunter Mason, Genevieve Rose Massett, Tasheem Lee Mavis, Ian Watson McCalister, Jacob Thomas McElroy, Daria Elizabeth McKenna, Jordan Antone McKenna, Megan Marie McLeod, Joseph Donald McNeil, Jr., Christopher Steve Medina Barrera, Isaiah Jacob Medrano, Evangeline Mena Nunez, Thomas A. Merz, Dorothy Renee Miller, Tania Rosmerky Minaya, Yasmin Tatyana Monroe, Edelmiro Morales Nieves, Alora-Rose Morgan, Ashley Marie Morgan, Jesse Hart Moroyoqui, Justin Blaine Morsette, John Edward Moscol, Jr., Loriana Rose Moscol, Chelsea Marie Murray, Nicholas Charles Nado, Rebecca Louise Neigel, Emma Elizabeth Nelson, Denice Estelle Nelson-Brady, Melissa Airianna Nichols, Emma Kate Nolan, Brittany Nicole Noonan, Frank Peter Norosky, Rose Kaitlin O'Connor, Nicholas Alexander O'Grady, Felicia Nicole Ojeda-Bright, Kiana Crizelda Quilana Ordonio, Wilber Ernesto Ortega, Alexus Yasmeen Ouellette, Alyssa Marie Paige, Sarah Kate Parizo, William John Parker, II, Zachary Robert Parsons, Ron Russell Atad Payumo, Marcus Earle Pearson, Logan William Peirson, Andrea Michelle Perez, Angeli Phee, Corina Marie Pinder, Joseph Walter Podbielski, Rachel Elizabeth Pollard, Allaina Marie Porter, David Ernest Porter, Jack William Porter, Vernon Terrell Powe, Christian Oliver Price, Rachel Elizabeth Qualley, Christopher John Quintero.
Caridad Ramos, Grayson Alexander Reuling, Elimar Camille Rivera, Mikayla Angelique Roberts, Aubrianna Sarah Robinson, Josee Marie Rockwell, Jelani Roman, Carlos Adneriz Rosario, Jr., Tiffany Amber-Lee Royster, Tyler Andrew Royster, Austin David Russell, Erica Ann Russell, Kasey Lynn Russell, Ashley Taylor Salazar, Aireen Ferrer Salvacion, Devin Jordan Sangster, Davin James Santagata, Miguel Angel Santiago, II, Francis Bucci Saylor, Roxanne Electra Scheetz, Kevin Neil Schmidt, Hunter Preston Schramm, Dalay Aliah Scott, Sierra Lynn Scott, Deja Marguerite Sebastian, George Aubrey Sefransky, Nicole Marie Sexton, Matthew Alexander Shafer, Kai Dalila Sinclair, Andrew Conrad Singer, Trevor Emile Robak Smart, Atiyana Carmel Smith, Mark Dupree Smith, Jr., Nathaniel Ramsey Smith, Joshua Ruben Sookhai, John Peter Stevens, Ty Tabb, Jonathan Taveras, Madison Paige Terminesi, Andrew John Burns Thomasco, Kyle James Torr-Brown, Damian Alberto Torres, Meghan Marie Toth, Charimar Darelys Troche, Xabimar Darelys Troche, Marrisa Ann Van Dyne, Iziah Jon Venditti, Mathew Francis Veroneau, Reymund Ranon Victorino, James Alan Vocolina, Maggie Eileen Waldron, Brandon Swingle Wallis,Robert Wyatt Watts, II, Ryan Lee Watrous, Jamie Marie Wetmore, Matthew Franklin Wilkinson, Colby Joseph Wright, Isabella Sarah Sun Zazzaro and Samantha Winifred Theresa Zod.