Failure is human: Waterford grads encouraged to learn from their mistakes

Waterford — A blue sea of caps and gowns flooded the sports field Thursday evening as 206 newly minted Waterford High School graduates received their diplomas amid warm cheers of encouragement from their friends, family and the Waterford community.

Commencement speakers encouraged the young adults to take risks and learn from mistakes as they move forward in their lives.

“To fail is to be human,” said class salutatorian Briana Roy.

Valedictorian Matthew Macesker urged his peers to pay attention to the wisdom of their parents and teachers and learn from the mistakes of those elders, but also said direct experience is irreplaceable. He told the audience to “err in a new way.”

Principal Andre Hauser told the graduates he hoped they would find happiness and love, and Superintendent Jerome Belair told them to “dream big and seek opportunities that will lead you to the unexpected.”

Presenters also reminded graduates that they were products of their community. First Selectman Daniel Steward told the students they were “the success we always hoped for.”

“I know many of your parents and grandparents, and you are following in the footsteps of their good examples,” said Board of Education Chairwoman Jody Nazarchyk.

As a sunny day gave way to a breezy, overcast evening, the graduates moved from their chairs to cross the stage and receive their diplomas.

Demitrius Tasoulas stood by the fence of the field with his 15-year-old daughter Stacey, who is entering her sophomore year at the high school in the fall. Demitrius said he had brought his daughter to inspire her to continue working hard in school.

“I wanted her to experience what it is to go to graduation,” he said.

Over in the nearby bleachers sat Lynn Perkins, whose 17-year-old daughter Gloria was among the graduates. Perkins said her daughter plans to attend Sacred Heart University and will start her freshman year with a semester in Ireland. 

“It’s so hopeful,” Perkins said of the graduation. “There’s so much more that she can do.”

“It just opens up a whole world for her.”

t.townsend@theday.com

Twitter: @ConnecticuTess

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