SOUTHINGTON - Lincoln College of New England sent its 50th graduating class into the world Friday with pomp, circumstance, congratulations and wishes for success.
The 150 graduates enjoyed a cool breeze as they assembled in gowns and caps decorated in accordance with their chosen professions. Future dental hygienists had glittering teeth atop their caps, while mortuary scientists’ caps bore Day of the Dead skeletons.
Family members brought along balloons and a sense of pride in their loved ones’ achievements. Many snapped numerous photographs to capture memories forever.
Following the singing of the national anthem by Jenna Glasper, Lincoln College President Denise Lewicki bid the graduates farewell and offered words of inspiration, noting that she is the parent of a graduate herself.
“Tomorrow you will begin jobs and summer adventures,” said Lewicki. “You will remember this day for the rest of your life. I hope the pride you feel as you walk across the stage is rivaled only by your nostalgia for your time here. I am optimistic that who you are and what you’ve learned will equip you to face any challenges.”
Rhonda Glover, program manager of the Human Resources Division of the FBI, gave the keynote address and was awarded an honorary degree.
“I’m going to give you straight talk,” said Glover. “In school, you are taught a lesson and given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson. Life’s journey is a test every step of the way. Today the tests really begin.”
Glover encouraged graduates to strive for excellence and be ready for opportunities to come their way. She said she was excited and humbled to speak to them.
Later, Valedictorian Deborah Kotrady and Salutatorian Chrystal Coggins addressed their classmates.
“We are now on the doorstep of starting a new adventure,” said Kotrady. “Some of us are solidifying our present career paths; others are entering a new professional career. This is truly an exciting time. As you step into your new lives, remember you will achieve much and at times you will face challenges and failures. However, it is important to remember you will always learn something from each success and failure. You will grow and achieve. I wish you all the best in your chosen paths. It has been an honor.”
Coggins encouraged each graduate to give back to his or her community and be a “guiding light” to someone in need. She also thanked her parents for “putting up with so many frozen dinners and calls of ‘Quiet! I’m trying to study!’ “and for all their sacrifices. She also thanked a teacher who had pushed her to stay with college when, at one point, she wanted to quit.
Then, at last, came the climactic moment, as the students stepped up one by one to receive their certificates.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-974-1806 or .