Graduation station: Class of 2019

Members of the Class of 2019 gathered in the high school gym for this year’s graduation. (Photo by John Goralski)

This week, we celebrate the Class of 2019 with our annual graduation edition, and the hardest part—once again—was trying to stuff all of the graduation and school news into just one newspaper. You would think that with a class of just 463—down from 531 in 2018—that creating a graduation edition would be easier. Guess again.

The Class of 2019 will be remembered by us as the “Little Engine that Could.” Despite smaller numbers, they actually exceeded many of the larger classes that came before them. Their academic achievements are just as numerous. With fewer students, the Class of 2019 had even more students taking advanced placement (AP) tests than some of the larger classes in the not-so-distant past. Smaller numbers didn’t affect their success in the classroom or out with everything that being a Blue Knight has come to represent.

Southington High School Class of 2019 president Michael Lewicki talks about being a knight during his presidential address at graduation.

We think that class president Michael Lewicki had it right. “It is no mistake that we here at Southington High are represented by the ‘blue knight,'” he said in his graduation address. “Over the past 12 years, you have proven yourself worthy by consistently demonstrating the five key virtues of knighthood.” We didn’t know what those were, either, but Lewicki listed them as courage, faith, generosity, mercy, and nobility. By that measure, the Class of 2019 certainly set the standard for future Blue Knights.

Southington seniors have lefts us with lasting memories in just about everything they did. The marching band continued to shine in the national spotlight. The robotics team finished third in the world. The Lady Knight softball team captured a state title, and the baseball team came so close you could taste it. Southington athletes captured headlines in all three seasons—individually and as a team. Abigail Lo Presti (swimming) and Tyler Bade (cross country) were singled out by the CIAC as top scholar-athletes in the state.

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 2019 valedictorian, Maxwell Heath, was the top dog and a fighter through and through, attacking everything from engineering to AP studies and writing clubs while sharpening his fighting skills through martial arts and his work in advocacy groups. Salutatorian Mia Langston studied everything from languages to earth sciences and engineering as she juggled work, academics, and extracurricular activities like a seasoned pro. And don’t count out essayist Aliya Sarris—another fighter against injustice—who took her love for languages (inducted into both the Italian and Spanish honor societies) and used it to facilitate conversations about diversity and social justice. Each one exemplified those virtues of knighthood that their class president applauded.

Even in the community, the Class of 2019 held their own. Bianca Spataro and Nicholas Mangene served with distinction as student representatives on the Southington Board of Education. Caitlin Mulligan, Bianca Spataro, and Isabella Feest were active members of the youth council and STEPS.

We were proud to be able to follow the Class of 2019 as they grew into the men and women of tomorrow. Thank you. We enjoyed the ride.

To contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.

A look back at the Class of 2019

  • For our graduation story, click below:

Grads stress diversity, opportunity, and the real world

  • For a full list of graduates, click below:

Southington High School officials announce the Class of 2019

  • For more graduation photos, click below:

The Class of 2019 is in the house…

  • For Southington’s Top 3, click below:

Southington High School: The head of the class

  • For Southington’s Top 25, click below:

UNICO celebrates Southington High School’s top 25 and Italian Honor Society

  • For the graduates that are going on to serve in our military, click below:

Luncheon honors seniors entering the military

Southington vet supports SHS student enlistees

  • For recognition of the Alta students, click below:

Alta beats the drum for Griffin Center kids

Alta pilots restaurant skills training course

  • For the student representatives on the Board of Education, click below:

Student government: BOE bids farewell to 2 student representatives

  • For Southington’s Teacher of the Year, click below:

Heather Allenback is Southington’s teacher of the year

  • For Southington’s Paraprofessional of the Year, click below:

Caroline Turek is the 2019-20 paraeducator of the year

  • For the retiring Southington Public School staff, click below:

Schools lose 20 employees to retirement

  • For the 2017 Observer Female Athlete of the Year, click below:

Catch me if you ‘Kem’: Kate Kemnitz is the 2019 Observer Female Athlete of the Year

  • For the 2017 Observer Male Athlete of the Year, click below:

‘Hurdling’ through space: Elijah Rodriguez is the 2019 Observer Male Athlete of the Year

  • For a short list of Southington’s top athletes, and our selection process, click below:

Commentary: Selecting the 2019 Observer Athletes of the Year

  • For scholarship winners, click below:

Students showcased at scholarship night

Local students showcased at scholarship dinner

College Signing: Marist football, here he comes

Football: Gridiron grads to take on next level this fall

Southington standout to play D-I softball

Knights charge into the NCAA

  • Other school stories from the Class of 2018’s senior year, click below:

Softball wins 18th state title

SHS student art show

CyberKnights place 4th at FIRST robotics world championship

Blue Knights host Unified Sports tournament: Event marks the 13th and final season for Southington High School coach

SHS art students receive state awards

SHS takes on ‘Grease’: Curtains open March 15-16

SHS students to be honored at CT superintendent awards

SHS Band continues to rise

Destiny West: Blue Knight band ready for another championship run

Whew! We wonder what next year will bring.

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