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Students who have met the requirements to graduate from Newtown High School were honored at a ceremony in the school’s cafetorium on January 30.
District kindergarten through twelfth grade School Counseling Director Bret Nichols welcomed everyone to the event.
The ceremony was held to recognize Sarah Capozziello, Mason Fiorilla, Jacklin Gouveia, Olivia Lewis, Joseph Lewis, Jacob Loutensock, Daisy MacDonald, Ryan Miller-Booth, Daniel Nastasia, Ezra Patty, John Payne, Makayla Romano, Stephanie Stoyak, Raven Truitt, and Jerusha Wright. Not all of the students were present or took part in the ceremony.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue spoke, and she shared that “there are very few moments in life like this,” when accomplishing a goal is acknowledged.
“We know that getting to this moment may not have been an easy road, certainly a challenge at times,” said Dr Rodrigue, “and I am sure there were many sleepless nights when you were up finishing a project or meeting a deadline.”
In times like those, Dr Rodrigue said the students may have wondered if the moment of graduating from high school would ever arrive.
“And your parents, staff, and administrators, I know, could not be prouder of you,” said Dr Rodrigue.
The midyear graduation ceremony, Dr Rodrigue continued, symbolizes a lifetime of possibilities, potential, and promise. She encouraged the students to be themselves, to be original, even when it may not be popular.
“I know that the education you received here has prepared you so well,” Dr Rodrigue said, “and no doubt you will be called upon in the future for your talents, your inventiveness, your empathy, and your knowledge. No doubt you will leave a trail for others, as well, to follow.”
She wished the students the “best of luck and success in the future.”
Interim NHS Principal David Roach said the students probably took different paths to reach graduation, but all of them arrived at the end of their high school path. Life, he added, is like that.
“You will find many ways to do something and many ways to not do something,” said Mr Roach. “The thing that people will remember is that you did something.”
The students have accumulated the skills to succeed no matter what they do, he said.
“Look at your diploma as an opportunity, an opportunity to make a difference,” said Dr Roach. “Congratulations.”
Olivia Lewis was the student speaker for the event. She noted the sense of relief parents in the audience were probably feeling as being similar to her sense of relief of knowing she and her fellow graduates “get to be truly who we get to be” with the marking of graduation.
“Being able to graduate half-year was an accomplishment for all of us, guardians included,” said Olivia.
Experience, Olivia continued, is a school from which no one graduates.
“The beauty of education is that it is meant to take someone’s empty mind and make it an open one,” she said. “It gave and it will keep giving all of us things we need to reach further and further into the corners of existence itself. This graduation, this celebration, is the beginning of anything we want. As we all drift onto our many paths, all there is left to say is, let the adventures begin.”
After Olivia spoke, faculty and staff present for the ceremony lined up in front of the cafetorium’s stage. Each graduate was handed a yellow flower after shaking hands with Mr Nichols, Dr Rodrigue, and Mr Roach.
Near the end of the ceremony, Mr Nichols offered his congratulations for the graduates.
“With this new freedom comes great opportunities and great things ahead of you,” said Mr Nichols. Later he said, “As one person, folks, you cannot change the world, but you can change the world for one person. Congratulations and best of luck.”