Grasso Tech grads told: 'The world is in our hands'

New London — Valedictorian Justin Joseph Ferreira told fellow members of the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School Class of 2019 at graduation Monday that they have the ability to create the reality they want.

"The world is in our hands. Reality can be whatever we want," said Ferreira, a member of the Mechanical Design and Engineering Technology Department.

Ninety-one members of the class graduated in a ceremony at Palmer Auditorium at Connecticut College. Family, friends and staff applauded and cheered the graduates as they were honored for their achievements and received their diplomas.

Salutatorian Lucy Caroline Driscoll, also from the Mechanical Design and Engineering Technology Department, told fellow graduates: "This evening we see the fruit of our labors.”

“Not just ours, but everyone here, and those who went before,” she said. “We are the products of our experiences and the lives that we touch. And that is what got us here tonight.”

She encouraged the graduates to not box themselves in with expectations for the future.

"Living in yesterday is regret. Living in tomorrow is anxiety," she said. "If you do either one you cannot be present in today. That's all-natural, 100 percent organic, unprocessed reality. Today is all we have so it would be a good idea to enjoy it!" 

Jeffrey Wihbey, Superintendent of Schools for the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System and CTECS Education Consultants Mary Skelly and John Murphy and Grasso Tech administrators, class advisors, faculty, and staff were among those celebrating the graduates at the ceremony. The New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums performed the processional.

During the ceremony, the members of the Class of 2019 were recognized for a host of accomplishments, including participating in clubs, earning top academics rankings, receiving certifications, and joining the military. 

Principal Patricia M. Feeney told the Class of 2019 that the graduation ceremony represented four years of hard work.

"You leave here tonight carrying with you something that only your fellow graduates in the technical school system can claim: skills in your trade area that will open doors to employability and career advancement and an academic diploma that opens doors to higher education," she said.

She said she wanted the graduates to leave believing in themselves and knowing they can achieve their loftiest dreams. She encouraged them to face the challenges of their future with confidence and determination, but to temper that drive to succeed with a good sense of humor and a strong set of moral and ethical values.

"I encourage you to remember those who may not be as fortunate as you, to help those who most need your help, to be giving and loving adults," she said. "You will find that your success in life will be measured in many different ways so work hard, follow your dreams, be good to each other, and enjoy your life’s journey. I am very, very proud of all our graduating seniors."

k.drelich@theday.com

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