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Ledyard — Dressed in blue or white caps and gowns, Ledyard High School’s Class of 2014 confidently marched in two files — one right and one left — around the athletic field Saturday evening.
Amid cheers from friends and family and under the streaming sunlight, both files of graduating seniors then met in the middle of the field to reflect together on their four years of high school.
They listened to commencement speeches encouraging them to forge their own paths for the future but carry with them the lessons learned in the halls of the school.
Principal Amanda Fagan recounted the history of Col. Ledyard and his legacy of unity and self-sacrifice. That spirit of unity carried the students through four years of success, from athletic championships and spirit week to Friday’s commencement ceremony, she said.
“It is the tie that will bind all of you together, in some capacity, forever,” she told the graduates.
She said they could count on that spirit of unity, no matter where they went or what profession they chose: “This Colonel nation has your back for life.”
Abby Booth and Zachary Higgins, two of the 10 Ledyard Scholars who spoke during Friday’s ceremony, imparted lessons about believing in oneself, with references to the book series “Harry Potter.”
Booth told her fellow graduates that while they may have heard it many times before, the importance of believing in oneself continues to hold true. Looking back, students will realize that how many Twitter followers one had or how “popular” one was in high school had no bearing on the life they created for themselves, she said.
“No matter how difficult it may seem, don’t be afraid to be yourself,” she said.
Higgins said the students began high school four years ago with trepidation of the unknown. But they soon learned at school that the biggest roadblock was their own selves and that they needed self-confidence to overcome obstacles.
“This will hold true for the rest of our lives,” he said.
In their speech, Brian Gosink and Brian Healy, also Ledyard Scholars, told the graduates that as they explore new paths, they can always remember the key elements of a happy life.
Happiness depends on having “someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to,” Gosink said.
Class President Kevin Paul McCarthy struck a note of gratitude for his family, teachers and classmates.
“I wish the absolute best for all of my classmates, and I can’t wait to see what they become,” he said. “Everyone here has done something great and will undoubtedly do great things. I’ve had the privilege of growing up with you, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Cody Alan Adams, Jenni Leigh Agosto, Siyuan Ai, Taylor Ashley Alexander, David Max Allen, Christian Gillette Allyn, Mason Duane Araujo, Maxwell Robert Armstrong, Joseph Carmine Astuti, Evan Andrew August, Dylan John Bagg, Eric Allen Barber, Evean Ezekiel Bardales-Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Baron, Jason Alec Barron, Samantha Lynn Bartosiak, Elizabeth Anne Bauman, Savannah Noble Bedard, Jenna Renee Bennett, Dominique Antonio Benson, Damon Isaiah Bickham, Melissa Rose Billing, Timothy David Blodgett, Abby Rose Booth, Angie Alejandra Botero, Ashley Nicole Brannan, Andrea Marie Brightman, Bryan James Brochu, Joseph Brooks, IV, Majesta Havana Brouillette, Danielle Cherise Brown, Patrick John Brown, Rebecca Suzanne Burton, Emily Michelle Butler, Ryan Kenneth Butler, Daniel David Candler, Tess Elizabeth Candler, Joseph Romulo Cardona, Khary Rasheed Carrasquillo-Childs, Jessica Ruth Carroll, Joseph James Carter, V, Cheryl Ann Chapados, Jeffery Paul Chapman, Jr., Matthew Barron Charette, Brandon Stephen Chesnut, Jake William Christenson, Alanna Lee Church, Tiesha B.C. Coleman, Stephanie Allison Correia, Richard Parker Cronin, Jeffery Allan Csisar, Jr., Victoria Marie Cyr.
Amy Irene Davis, John Robin deAndrade, Coline DeFilippis, Evan Arthur DelGrosso, Olivia Teresa DelGrosso, Maxwell Glenn DeMaio, Jack Riley Desormier, Blaise Daniel Dessaint, Lori Ashley Donovan, Matthew Aaron Doucette, Tiana Corinne Dove, Julia Ann Driscoll, Jacob Geoffrey Dunbar, Matthew James Dunn, Katelyn Marie Duplice, Julia Kristen Duval, Charles Randall Eldridge, Pablo Alexi Escalante, III, Allison Paige Fedors, Carissa Jalen Finney, Asia Unique Forest, Stormie Rae Fortner, Brianna Nicole Foxworthy, Francesca Ann Lauren Francischelli, Katharine Esperanza Franzone, Arianna Lee Fustini.
Bethany Taylor Gagnon, Nicholas Jonathan Genova, Rachel Lynn Gernert, Jade Leila Gilman, Kathleen Anne Goodhind, Nicholas James Gordon, Brian Andrew Gosink, Joshua Henry Goskowsky, Michael Patrick Graff, Darnay Charles Gray, Alyssa Ann Gregory, Sara Kathy Gutierrez, Tracy Hanania, Kylie Dawn Hansen, Gabrielle Angeline Hanson, Tylor Jacob Harlow, Jacquelin Monique Harris, Lattrell Jermain Harris, Marques James Harris, Sara Elizabeth Harvey, Brian Edward Healy, Christopher Alan Healy, Katrina Marie Hebert, Brittney Rochelle Hedges, Troy Adam Hedman, Zachary William Higgins, Adam James Hildebrandt, Korianne Maree Hillyer-Timmerman, Jeremy Taylor Hintz-Valdez, Jordan Elizabeth Houdeshell, Alexea Nicole Hudgins, Hannah Lee Hutchins, Sarah Elizabeth Hysong.
Nelson Ruiz Irrizarry, Kavan Jeffrey Jakuba, Hayley Constance Jarrett, Caile Kristopher Johnson, Christopher Michael Johnson, Ryan Eric Johnson, Savannah Faith Johnson, Olivia Shay Jones, Jeremiah Daniel Kalbach, Sevda Nur Kalican, Ashanti N. F. Kelly, Amy Nicole Knight, Andrea Alejandra Kooyip, Wesley Karl Koshoffe, Jr., Jordan John Kowalski, Nathaniel Seiwell Lahti, Ryan Patrick Lamb, Nicholas Tyler Lauer, Michela Erin Lavin, Zoelyn Tyja Lawler, Hannah Jane Lawrence, Alixandra Louise Lee, Rachel Lelia Legg, Clayton James Levis, Nicholas James LoBianco, Amber Marie Long, Erick Alexander Lopez, Devon Rey MarcAurele, Emily Jayne Marquardt, Bianca Angelica Marie Matira, Robert David McCall, Kevin Paul McCarthy, Benjamin Christian McCoy-Redd, Kevin Michael McDonald, Alexandra Priscilla Merrill, Madison Caitlyn Meyers, Albert Norman Miller, III, Alexandria Erin Moen, David Joseph Moniz, Rae'Ana Symone Monroe, Haley Elizabeth Moon, Carlos Miguel Morales, Rechelle Dorol Morales, Sean Thomas Moriarty.
Elizabeth Anne Nelson, Julia Nhi Nguyen, Mitchell Leo Nixon, Meghan Jacqline Norcia, Haley Marie Nunes, Sean Connor O'Toole, Thomas Henry Obey, Rodrigo Ortega, Jason Palomino, John Jeremy Palomino, James Tyler Parker, Nicole Grace, Parks, Colton Bradley Patt, Alannys Perez, Stephanie Cheryl Perry, Charles Waller Peterson, Dhayonera Devin Phillips, Ruining Piao, John Hamel Pinckney, Patrick Thomas Poland, Alec Wayne Powell, Rachel Lynn Pratt-Lanoue, James Michael Quinn, Joseph Anthony Quintana, Tijo Rajan, Jesianna Simone Ralls, Ashlei Mariah Villaluz Ratta, Emily Anne Renski, Brianna Kelsey Riley, Brenna Lynn Robeson, Isaiah Nelson Rodriguez, Leslie Marie Rowland, Rachael Joann Rowley-Aquitante, Kira Renee Ryan, Angelie Monique Santos-Haase, Maxwell Sanford Satti, Lauren Victoria Scahill, Victoria Ann Schaufler, Mikayla Taylor Schlehofer.
Rebecca Kayla Schmahl, Alexandra Kroger Schneider, Chenoa Beigh Sebastian, Shaquanna Nena Sebastian, Michael Edward Shea, Allison Marie Sinnett, Michaela Ashley Sior, Matthew Allen Smith, Patrick Allen Smith, Justice Ryan Startz, Jsana Bre'ana Strong, Lauren Amanda Susi, Quinton Marshall Swan, Nicole Marie Sweatland, Dylan Zachary Taylor, Joshua James Throop, Joseph Sidney Tilton, Cheyenne Morning Song Tracy, Joseph Alton Trahan, Stephen Christopher Turner, Kaleb William Twomey, Keegan Joseph Twomey, Sean Michael Ugarelli, Hannah Marie Van Dusen, Matthew Brian VanVolkenburg, Paige Alexis Vetrano, Leslie Stephanie Villanueva, Daniel Charles Wagner, Alexis Renee Walker, Lindsey Alexandria Watrous, Rachel Rose Weed, Rachel Anne Whipple, Shane Michael Wildes, Taylor Marie Wilkinson, Alysia Kelsi Wisdom, Schneider Noel Withrow, Julie Rose Wolfe, Mandy Man-Ying Wong, Stephanie Wong, Rachel Lael Yano, Anthony Peter Yarbrough, David Ryon Young and Ocean Robert Young.