South End alum take trip down memory lane

June 22, 2014

By Lindsay Carey
Staff Writer
Twenty-eight students from the 2007 fifth grade class at South End Elementary School returned to their old stomping grounds to open a time capsule they put together seven years ago.
Two of the student’s former teachers, Rita Stearn and Betty Brown were also on hand for the time capsule opening.
The graduating seniors opened their time capsules to find inside letters from their parents and teachers, along with memory books they had made when they were in fifth grade. The group also had the opportunity to look at pictures of their younger selves and their time at South End School in a slideshow.
Senior Carissa Mirando described the experience as “bittersweet.”
The seniors laughed with one another and tried to determine who looked the most different as they bonded through the nostalgic experience about a week before their high school graduation.
Most of the students in the group will move on to college, and for some, that means moving out of state.
Tyler Sweetman, who moved to Southington in first grade, was already sporting his University of Florida gear with the signature gator emblazoned on his shoulder. Sweetman said he is excited to start college, although being away from home will take some getting used to.
Other students, who are not moving away from Connecticut, expressed similar sentiments. Matt Gerrish, who will be attending Quinnipiac University for accounting in the fall, said even though he is planning to commute to school next year, he is definitely going to miss his friends.
The graduating seniors from Southington High School shared their memories at South End School as well as their plans for the future with the current fifth graders.
Natalie Nyerick shared a letter from her fifth grade self, in which she hoped she and her best friend Abigail Harris would not be in competing with each other for the rest of their lives.
Nyerick and Harris said they are still close friends, encouraging the current fifth graders with their testimony of lasting friendship.
Nyerick will stay in Connecticut and attend UConn, while Harris will be going to Villanova University to study English and communications, with hopes of becoming a print journalist one day. Once she moves in the fall, Harris said she is going to miss the close knit group of friends that she grew up with for 18 years.
When Stearn asked the group who still hangs out with their friends from South End School, all twenty-eight seniors raised their hands.
“We were a really close class,” said Nyerick.
Even their teachers expressed their attachment to the graduates. Stearn told the group they were one of her favorite classes. Brown, who still teaches fifth grade at South End, became the class’ substitute while Stearn battled cancer.
“I still have every single one of the cards you guys made me and a blanket with your faces on it, which I have to admit I don’t use very often,” joked Stearn. “I have a special place in my heart for you guys.”

By Tammi Naudus Kayla Padroff and Laura Smedburg look at the items they left in the time capsule.

By Tammi Naudus
Kayla Padroff and Laura Smedburg look at the items they left in the time capsule.

By Tammi Naudus Tyler Sweetman and Joe Fazzino share a laugh as they go through the contents of the South End time capsule.

By Tammi Naudus
Tyler Sweetman and Joe Fazzino share a laugh as they go through the contents of the South End time capsule.

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