There was a surprise waiting for one member of the Henry Abbott Technical High School graduating Class of 2013. It took the impressive form of Newtown High School 2010 graduate and United States Navy Seaman Dustin Hanson, who walked out on stage Monday, June 17, to hand his younger brother, Dylan Hanson, a diploma.
The event took Dylan and most members of the audience completely by surprise. When the announcement came that a “special guest” was being invited up to the stage to present the next diploma, clapping stopped and a hush fell around the Henry Abbott Technical High School gymnasium, where the ceremony was held.
A few moments later, echoes of clapping and enthusiastic hooting roared up from the audience as Dustin emerged onto the stage, wearing his Naval uniform. Until that moment, Dustin had been hiding behind a doorway near the stage.
The brothers clasped hands and hugged before Dustin handed Dylan his diploma.
Dustin then announced he had flown in from San Diego, CA, Sunday night. He also offered his congratulations to the Class of 2013, and thanked everyone in attendance.
“People just randomly come up and say thank you to me,” Dustin said, explaining it happens when he wears his naval uniform, “and I really love your support. I really do.”
Including Dylan, there were 16 Newtown and Sandy Hook residents who graduated during the commencement ceremony on Monday. Tyler Bingham, Richard Boland, Dave Cartisano, Alexandria DeWolfe, Patrick Hoenauer, Dana Kimball, Luke Kimball, Erica Knapp, Kayla Lasky, Charles Loomis, James Pearson, Ana Ramos, Matthew Shannon, Rui Teixeira, and Aleksandr Venticinque graduated this year, according to Henry Abbott Technical High School.
Speakers at the ceremony included Class of 2013 Vice President Heather Beardsley, Principal Portia Bonner, class valedictorian Josh LaPera, class salutatorian Sean Geary, class secretary Kayla Lasky, and class treasurer Brianna Ellis.