This week, we celebrate the Class of 2018 with our annual graduation edition, and the hardest part was trying to stuff all of the graduation and school news into just one newspaper. Of course, that’s our problem every year, but this year has been even more difficult. With state funding issues forcing town officials to deal with two budgets, a walk-out protest and memorial ceremony because of ongoing national and state headlines about gun violence in schools, and a host of other government hurdles, it sometimes felt that actual school news was being overshadowed by all the other…stuff.
But the Class of 2018 seemed unfazed by all the hoopla and noise. The 531 Southington seniors managed to clear every hurdle thrust in their path to leave us with lasting memories in every niche and corner of the world of education. Whether it’s on the sports fields, where the marching band drummed, danced, and played their way into the national spotlight, and a girls track and field team that managed to break a three year title drought by capturing the first Southington state title in the sport, Southington students always put their best foot forward.
It didn’t stop there. The CyberKnights had a bullseye on their backs, but it didn’t stop them from returning to the national competition for the third year in a row. It’s almost become expected that, when the dust clears on the robotics season, Team 195 is one of the last teams standing. Nobody thrives more in the international spotlight than this Southington dynasty.
Everywhere we turned, Southington students were leaving their mark. It’s no surprise to us that the top 3 from the Class of 2018 are such accomplished men and women. That’s what it seems to take just to survive at Southington High School.
The 2018 valedictorian, Lydia Yu, was the top dog and proof that Southington schools lead the way with STEM students. She was a leader with the National Honor Society, Women in Science and Engineering, and the internationally acclaimed robotics program, while still finding time to be active in her church. Salutatorian Chloe Becquey held the crowd in her hand at graduation with a stirring speech about what it’s like to be a student in this era. She’s a well-spoken champion in and out of the classroom. She’s entering college with enough credits to put her at a sophomore level, and she’s another STEM champion (expecting to double major in computer science and statistics). And don’t count out essayist Evan Bender. He’s an elite state athlete in the swimming pool, battling his way to the state open last winter. But he’s just as much of a force at his desk. He was involved with Project Lead the Way (another STEM student). With Becquey, he participated in the model United Nations, but he also found time to flex his economic muscles with the Business Leaders of America and DECA, while aspiring to be a medical professional? These three set the standard for this class, and everyone else seemed to fall into step.
Joseph Martin and Sean Young served with distinction as student representatives on the Southington Board of Education. Julia Brilla raised the bar for student involvement at STEPS.
We were proud to be able to follow the Class of 2018 as they grew into the men and women of tomorrow, and it’s bitter-sweet as we watch them head out into the world. One thing is certain: Southington will be well-represented. Of course, that’s nothing new.
- For our graduation story, click below:
- For a full list of graduates, click below:
- For more graduation photos, click below:
- For Southington’s Top 3, click below:
- For Southington’s Top 25, click below:
- For the graduates that are going on to serve in our military, click below:
- For recognition of the Alta students, click below:
- For the student representatives on the Board of Education, click below:
- For Southington’s Teacher of the Year and Paraprofessional of the Year, click below:
- For the retiring Southington Public School staff, click below:
- For the 2017 Observer Female Athlete of the Year, click below:
- For the 2017 Observer Male Athlete of the Year, click below:
- For a short list of Southington’s top athletes, and our selection process, click below:
- Other school stories from the Class of 2018’s senior year, click below:
- For scholarship winners, click below: