By Ed Harris Editor
Southington High School graduates reflected on the past and looked forward to the future at their recent graduation ceremony.
Quoting several Dr. Seuss books, essayist Molly Anne Potter urged her classmates to continue to try new things, stay creative and take pride in who they are.
“So, as we prepare to begin the next chapter of our lives, remember the influential books we listened to in our kindergarten story time circle,” she said. “Remember to always try new things, stay creative and take pride in who you are. I am confident that if you continue to follow this advice and work hard, you will all be successful in future endeavors, no matter what they may be. Congratulations and good luck to everyone next year. And, don’t forget. When given the chance, always try green eggs and ham.”
Utilizing the unattributed quote “Learn as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die tomorrow,” valedictorian Bryan Davis urged his classmates to find a balance between learning and living.
“Realize the importance of learning and increase your knowledge everyday so that you can achieve your goals,” he said. “In addition to this, however, ensure that you do whatever it takes so that when you go to bed every night, you can safely say you enjoyed and got satisfaction out of your day.”
Class salutatorian Jonathan La Follette was a bit more humorous in his speech. Stating that he was unsure of what to say, he leaned on his friends for support and suggestions. These suggestions, some wacky, included just stating a bunch of one liners, advertising for businesses and simply to just push over the podium and walk back to his seat.
Though he started out his speech telling his classmates that he would not have anything profound to say, La Follette did leave them with a bit of advice.
“Please, all of you just need to calm down,” he said. “Stop obsessing so much because there will be a moment in your lives when you realize all this stress, all this trauma you’ve been put through really means nothing compared to the rest of your world. I hope this advice isn’t coming to you too late, and please don’t ignore it.”
Class president Edmund Klein was unable to attend the graduation ceremonies, as he had left for basic training for the National Guard a few days prior. His twin sister Katie Klein read his speech in his place.
In the speech, Klein told his classmates that he had faith in them and told them to never forget where they came from.
“The town of Southington has been my home for ten years and there is no place I would rather have spent the most important years of my life,” he wrote. “To the Class of 2013, congratulations. You all have made it. But always remember, this is only the beginning. The most important steps for you to take will be taken in the next part of your life, but I have so much faith in you. Every student in the audience is more than prepared for the next part of their journey. I know every student sitting out there, together, are some of the best the world has to offer and I am proud to call you all my peers. So, good luck in your future endeavors, have an amazing summer, stay safe and never forget where you came from.”
For some graduates, graduation was bittersweet, while others looked forward to the next chapter in their lives.
“We’re sad,” said Thea Bernabe, standing out in the SHS hallways with friends prior to graduation. “High school was fun. We had some pretty good times.”
For William DeBarbra, graduation meant the end of one chapter of his life and the beginning of another.
“It’s kind of like a new beginning,” he said.
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