Graduating the common thread for diverse group of Ledyard High seniors

Ledyard — Wet weather forced the Ledyard High School class of 2015 commencement indoors Saturday, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 223 graduates or the school community.

Those speaking at the podium in the school gymnasium shared messages of community, individuality and overcoming obstacles.

Class President Haley Alexis Hinton told her fellow graduates that they had shaped each other over the past four years. She commented on how a large number of individuals were graduating high school throughout the country, quickly following up that such a detail did not cheapen the ceremony at Ledyard.

“Know that you are important, but don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

Principal Amanda Fagan spoke about the diversity of the graduates, in interests, background and upbringing, telling the students, “graduation is about all of you.”

All of the graduates, she said, had different skills and strengths – some were Eagle Scouts, others athletes, and of course there were some agricultural scientists.

And then there were those for whom “high school never felt like the right fit.” And for those who struggled, she reserved a special praise – they had followed through on obligations they may have struggled or not desired to fulfill.

“The common thread is that you made it,” she told the 2015 class, encouraging its members to keep learning, whether through formal education or through pursuing knowledge on their own.

Kim Winston stood by a set of bleachers in the gymnasium as students began streaming to the stage to receive their diplomas, watching for her 17-year-old daughter Ju’lissa to receive her diploma. Ju’lissa, Winston explained, initially struggled after transferring in the fall to Ledyard from Groton.

“It means a lot,” she said of her daughter’s graduation, “because she was having problems in the beginning, and she pulled it together.”

Ju’lissa plans to attend Three Rivers Community College in the fall where she intends to study early childhood development, Winston said.

For the graduates in their gowns — girls in white, boys in blue, and some with their caps decorated — it was an event of pomp, circumstance and excitement for whatever comes next.

Waiting to enter the gymnasium from a hallway prior to the ceremony, Niki Trinkley, 17, said she was eager to move out of her parents’ house in the fall and start her freshman year at Eastern Connecticut State University, where she plans to study psychology.

“I can’t wait to leave,” she said.

t.townsend@theday.com

Twitter: @ConnecticuTess

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