Waterford 2021 High School graduates ready to take flight
Waterford — The high school's orchestra did an opening number as family and friends cheered on in the sidelines and the graduating class made their entrance at the school's athletic complex Tuesday night, marking the 62nd commencement.
First Selectman Rob Brule, Board of Education Chairperson Craig Merriman and state Rep. Kathleen McCarty were all present at the ceremony to make short remarks to the graduates.
Brule advised the class to remember three words as they embark on the rest of their lives: "Kindness is free."
"'We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty,'" said valedictorian Sabrina Tolppi, quoting Maya Angelou in her speech.
Tolppi applied the analogy of butterflies to the graduating seniors, who have adapted and changed when they experienced quarantine, or their "chrysalis," as she described it.
Salutatorian Sean Corman spoke about the difficulty of experiencing FOMO — the fear of missing out — during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our Class of 2021, specifically, will be an essential part of that generation as the ones who know what they have lost and will stop at nothing to recover," he said.
"I'm nervous and excited for the future," said Senior Wasiq Namwar, when asked how he felt about graduating. He participated in cross country, wresting and track at Waterford. "I came in as a blank-slate freshman year and all the friends I made here have made me into the man I am today." He hopes to go to UConn and study biological sciences.
"Waterford really felt like a community," said graduate Ana Hart, who left Waterford schools for a year and then returned. She is taking a gap year after graduating to travel with her brother.
Faculty and administrators were reminiscent and expressed their deep admiration for a class that has lived through very difficult times.
Principal Andre Hauser spoke during the ceremony and recognized the class for "rising" up to the challenge of the pandemic and providing exemplary leadership at school.
Thomas Giard, the superintendent, looked intently at the graduates and suggested that if they learned anything from the pandemic, let it be that "at the end of the day, we need each other."
Suzanne Sturm, a math teacher, wanted to remind the class that this is only the beginning. "This is the start of the rest of your life," she to the graduating class.
For a gallery of more photos from the graduation ceremony, click here.
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