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'It's about time!': Waterford grads celebrate change

Waterford — Shouts of "That's my baby!", "It's about time!" and even one of "I was worried!" rang out in the Waterford High School auditorium Friday night during the school's 53rd commencement.

Graduates and their guests filled nearly every seat in the auditorium, after school officials moved the ceremony inside due to heavy rain for most of the day. Despite the gray weather, moods were bright before the commencement began and only became brighter as it proceeded.

Principal Andre Hauser announced at the beginning of the ceremony that a new tradition had begun, and asked all 10 graduates who will be joining the military to come to the front of the stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

First Selectman Dan Steward discussed adaptability in his class greeting, with a focus on how changes in the world will affect graduates in the near future. 

"Changes are a part of life," he said. "The more you are able to adapt to changes, the better life will be."

Salutatorian Emily Johnson said the past four years were largely spent following a set routine each day in high school and that the future may seem daunting going forward. She said despite that, she hopes everyone will make a positive difference in someone's life.

"Remember where you're from when times get scary," she said.

Valedictorian Kayla Mathiowetz continued the theme of change and said changing one's mind is vital to success.

"Follow the voice in the back of your head to change your mind," Mathiowetz said. "... If you don't contradict yourself on a regular basis, you're not thinking ... When you're open to changing your mind, your view of the world changes."

In Principal Hauser's final address to the graduates, he said the Class of 2017 was the first to spend all four years in the high school since the construction of its new building in 2013. His last well wishes were simple. 

"We will miss you all." 


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