Killingly High School's 136th Commencement
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Jun. 20, 2011
The freshman wing of Killingly High School was overrun with seniors on June 17 during the school’s 136th Commencement Exercises, honoring the graduating class of 2011.
Students carrying caps and gowns made their way to assigned classrooms. They smoothed out the wrinkles in their gowns. When they absolutely had to, they put them on. It was humid, and some seniors waited until the last minute to wear that most final of high school apparel.
Students helped each other pin Career Pathway ribbons to their gowns. They draped red CAPT, gold Honor Society, and blue and gold Future Farmers of America cords around their shoulders. Members of the National Honor Society donned their blue cowls. Graduation caps were securely pinned in place.
School counselor Stacey Larrivee helped pin Jessica Fondelheit’s cap. English Department Chair John Fulco helped Tanya Peckham with her Career Pathway pin. Class President Christos Haveles wore his yellow valedictorian stole auspiciously.
At 6 p.m., behind staff-bearing Class Marshals Kevin Ravnelle and Victoria Weaver, the seniors made their way through the hallways to the gymnasium. Leading them one last time were Guidance Director Kevin Marcoux, Superintendent of Schools Dr. William M. Silver, Principal Andrew Rockett, Vice Principal Michael Devine, the Killingly Board of Education and faculty and staff.
But clearly the focus was on the seniors. When they entered the gymnasium to the rich sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the KHS Symphonic Band, everyone rose. Flashbulbs went off. Parents and relatives strained for a view of their senior. Ten rows of chairs filled ceremoniously with white- and red-robed graduates.
Seven seniors who are joining the military led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The KHS Jive followed up with a performance of the national anthem.
When Christos Haveles gave his valedictorian address, he directed his more poignant remarks to his classmates.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” he said, quoting Henry David Thoreau. “Be your own person. Don’t let anyone pull you back.”
He offered other words of advice that the rest of the audience could have just as easily taken to heart: Contribute to the community; Thank everyone; Love the people who are good to you; Forgive people; Take chances.
And one by one, the students’ names rang out loud and clear for one last time at Killingly High School, as the members of the Class of 2011 received their diplomas.