SOUTHINGTON - A bright day greeted Southington High Schoolâ€™s graduating Class of 2017 as they took the first steps toward a bright future.
Relaxing beach music befitting the idyllic summer day played as friends and family members assembled in the bleachers at the school athletic field. Mothers bore bouquets of flowers to give to their triumphant teens. Grandparents sat with younger siblings of the graduates who no doubt imagined themselves one day striding proudly onto the field clad in caps and gowns.
Once the cheers and the last notes of â€śPomp and Circumstanceâ€ť faded, Class President Catherine Myers spoke to her classmates one final time after taking one last selfie with them.
â€śAs much as we are proud and excited today, we must also acknowledge that we are not just at an end but a beginning,â€ť she said. â€śI am ecstatic to be here celebrating this accomplishment with you, but in reality it is where we go from here that is going to define us and our success. Right now we are all high school graduates with a clean slate, ready to create our own unique and successful futures.â€ť
Essayist Laura Furtak then addressed her peers.
â€śThe memories and decisions we make now will follow us the rest of our life,â€ť she said. â€śSo my advice to you is have fun, be responsible, gain new experiences, strive for success and most importantly, live. You only have one life, make it an incredible one.â€ť
Nathan Simard then gave his salutatory address.
â€śIâ€™m going to miss so many of you,â€ť he said. â€śThroughout high school and even this year there were a lot of people that I have been friends with, but never thought about leaving. Make sure to take the time tonight at the all-night grad party to congratulate each other and say goodbye.â€ť
Valedictorian Nickolina Doran then offered her well wishes.
â€śMy wish for all of you is that when we come together for our 10 or 20 year class reunion I am met with 490 people who have found something in their lives that makes them truly happy,â€ť she said. â€śWhether that be a person, a job or even an experience. Each and every one of you deserves this happiness.â€ť
Following the graduatesâ€™ remarks Superintendent of Schools Timothy Connellan, Principal Brian Stranieri and Board of Education Chairman Brian Goralski each bid them a final farewell.
Steve Pintarich and Steve McCarty of the town Veterans Committee also honored those students entering the military as well as those veterans in attendance.
Then came the moment all had been waiting for; diplomas were conferred and the Class of 2017â€™s high school years were at last completed.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.