Waterford – The high school orchestra performed an opening number as family and friends cheered on the sidelines and the graduating class entered the school’s sports complex on Tuesday night, marking the 62nd start.
First Selectman Rob Brule, Board of Education Chairman Craig Merriman and State Representative Kathleen McCarty were all present at the ceremony to make brief remarks to the graduates.
Brule advised the class to remember three words as they go through the rest of their lives: “Kindness is free.
“‘We rejoice in the beauty of the butterfly, but seldom admit the changes it has undergone to achieve this beauty,” said promotion major Sabrina Tolppi, quoting Maya Angelou in her speech.
Tolppi applied the butterfly analogy to senior graduates, who adapted and changed as they lived through their 40s, or their “chrysalis,” as she described it.
Salvationatorian Sean Corman has spoken about the difficulty of experiencing FOMO – the fear of missing out – during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our class of 2021, in particular, will be a vital part of this generation as those who know what they have lost and will stop at nothing to recover,” he said.
“I am nervous and excited for the future,” said senior Wasiq Namwar, when asked what he thought of his graduation. He competed in cross country, wrestling and track and field at Waterford. “I arrived in first year a virgin and all the friends I made here made me the man I am today.” He hopes to go to UConn and study biological sciences.
“Waterford really felt like a community,” said graduate Ana Hart, who left Waterford schools for a year and then returned. She takes a year off after graduating to travel with her brother.
The teachers and administrators remembered and expressed their deep admiration for a class that has gone through very difficult times.
Principal Andre Hauser spoke at the ceremony and acknowledged the class for “rising” to the challenge of the pandemic and showing exemplary leadership at the school.
Thomas Giard, the superintendent, looked closely at the graduates and suggested that if they learned anything from the pandemic, that it be that “at the end of the day, we need each other.”
Suzanne Sturm, math teacher, reminded the class that this is just the beginning. “This is the start of the rest of your life,” she told the promotion.