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    Tuesday, October 04, 2022

    Ledyard High School graduates urged to embrace their 'I don't knows'

    Anthony Torres, right, reaches out to shake hands with Arjay Colmenares when Colmenares arrives Friday, June 17, 2022, to line up with fellow graduates for the start of the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    School: Ledyard High School

    Number of graduates: 194

    Ceremony location: The school's William P. Mignault Field

    When: Friday, June 17, 6 p.m.

    Student speakers: scholars Amanda Cooper, Tessa Tillman, Matthew Bourguignon, Christopher Houdeshell; Class President Alexandra Martinez-Garcia.

    Cooper: "My advice to you all, any current or future high school students, you don't need to be perfect. The best thing you can do is accept and learn from your mistakes. Life is for making mistakes, that is how we become better humans, but in order to learn from those errors, you have to be paying attention to yourself, and your mental well-being. Someone who can't listen to themselves first is certainly going to face challenges, so I urge each and every one of you to tune in to yourself and your feelings in the coming weeks or months before you begin whatever journey lies ahead."

    Martinez-Garcia: "'I don't know's' come tethered to your high school experience and to the diploma every one of you will soon be holding in your hands. They can seem scary, but I encourage all of you to see each 'I don't know' as what it truly is: an opportunity for happiness and a better understanding of yourself. 'I don't know's' leave your future open for anything. If you have an open mind, you can turn an 'I don't know' into whatever you want. You don't have to have your entire future planned out ahead of you right now — we're just teenagers! If you've decided what you want to do with the rest of your life — that's amazing, and congrats! But if you haven't, that' s equally as amazing — ​Your current 'I don't know' will allow you the opportunity to better understand yourself and turn that 'I don't know' into something more concrete in the future."

    In Memoriam: Student Alexia Geronimo delivered a speech remembering Guy Burns and Jenna Foltz, who would have graduated in the Class of 2022. Burns died while battling depression Jan. 13, 2018, just shy of his 14th birthday, a year after his dad died. He was remembered as outgoing and always smiling, and for being especially close to his father, helping around the farm and raising chickens. Foltz died Jan. 23, 2020, shortly before her 16th birthday, due to a heart condition. She was remembered for dancing, singing in the Ledyard Choirs, loving and caring for animals and exploring the outdoors, as well as her love of drawing and art.

    Graduates pass by faculty members as they begin the procession Friday, June 17, 2022, during the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Albert Franck gives Andrew Harris a hug Friday, June 17, 2022, before they and their fellow graduates line up for the start of the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Matthew Bourguignon waves to family members and friends as he steps up to receive his diploma Friday, June 17, 2022, during the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Family members and friends of the graduates line up along a fence around the field Friday, June 17, 2022, to watch the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Vice Principal James Buonocore presents Ailish Farquhar an envelope with the Robert Guacher/William Lafluer Award on Friday, June 17, 2022, during the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Graduates applaud and cheer as a fellow graduate receives a diploma Friday, June 17, 2022, during the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Clouds pass over the field Friday, June 17, 2022, during the Ledyard High School commencement ceremony. Earlier there was a rainstorm but it cleared in time for the ceremony. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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