'A class of doers': Lyme-Old Lyme Class of 2015 graduates

Kyle Harvill, center, poses with multiple mortarboards balancing on his head as Kathleen Stedman, left, and Hannah O'Brien mug for the camera held by Brian Duttrick prior to commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Kyle Harvill, center, poses with multiple mortarboards balancing on his head as Kathleen Stedman, left, and Hannah O'Brien mug for the camera held by Brian Duttrick prior to commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Old Lyme — The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2015 is a "class of doers" that cares about each other and the community, Assistant Principal Michelle Dean said Friday.

Dean told the 87 graduates, assembled together in blue and white commencement robes on a sunny evening on the high school's field, that the phrase, "go big or go home," encapsulates their spirit. 

She urged them to share that gift, as they move forward after high school.

"You have the power to elevate others simply by having the power to go big or go home," she said.

In a ceremony of reflection, song and humor, the graduates walked across the stage in front of their high school to shake the hands of Superintendent Ian Neviaser, Board of Education Chairman James Witkins and Dean. 

The graduates received their diplomas, as friends and family cheered and applauded.

Class Valedictorian Eric Pan said the graduates' friendly competition and support is the key to their accomplishments. 

"We build off each other's successes as a foundation and we keep climbing higher," he said.

Commencement speaker and English teacher Jill Ressler said the class has "given us all the gift of joy, the gift of laughter."

Honor Essayist Liam Corrigan said the graduates should continue to have fun as they pursue their passions.

"Do what you love, and love what you do," he said.

Salutatorian Abigail Cipparone recounted how students welcomed her on her first day of school as proof that small acts matter. She likened it to a hinge, which makes a tiny movement that can swing a heavy door.

"Why can't we all be hinges?" she asked. "Why can't we all make tiny improvements that lead to huge improvements in our world?" 

At the ceremony, the graduates honored class adviser Mary Beth Schreindorfer, whose motto is "go big or go home," with an outstanding educator award.

Class President Meredith Aird compared the end of high school to a beautiful sunset she saw over the Connecticut River. She encouraged graduates to cherish their memories and to enjoy their next sunset in September, wherever they may be.

"The memories these towns and the people in it have created for us are unique and unmatchable," she said.

Director of School Counseling Tracy Lenz imparted advice to graduates before they went to meet their family and friends:

"So Class of 2015, as you brace yourself for the next step of your journey, remember to be open to new experiences, learn from your struggles, relish the places you will explore and take care of your relationships with family and friends as life with these components is ultimately sweeter. If you keep these things in mind, I promise, your destination will take care of itself."

k.drelich@theday.com

Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich

Graduate Emma Alston Rountree, left, reacts at a surprise visit from former classmate Isobel Wilkie at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. Wilkie attended the school through sophomore year and returned today to surprise her friend Rountree at the graduation. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduate Emma Alston Rountree, left, reacts at a surprise visit from former classmate Isobel Wilkie at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. Wilkie attended the school through sophomore year and returned today to surprise her friend Rountree at the graduation. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates toss their caps in the air at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates toss their caps in the air at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates get high-fives from faculty at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates get high-fives from faculty at the conclusion of commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates Max Castonguay, left, and Colby Smith join classmates celebrating their graduation with a ritual cigar after commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Graduates Max Castonguay, left, and Colby Smith join classmates celebrating their graduation with a ritual cigar after commencement exercises for the Lyme/Old Lyme High School class of 2015 Friday, June 19, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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