Different paths bring EGHS co-salutatorians together at graduation

By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
East Granby - posted Fri., Jun. 24, 2011
Co-salutatorian Naomi Tennakoon speaks about her transition to East Granby. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli.
Co-salutatorian Naomi Tennakoon speaks about her transition to East Granby. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli.

Two students in the East Granby High School senior class took very different paths in their lives to end up in exactly the same place during graduation on June 23 - sharing the podium as co-salutatorians of the Class of 2011. They spoke back-to-back, after being introduced by Principal Melissa Bavaro-Grande, who said, “We had two students score the same grade point average to the nearest hundredth of a point.”

Naomi Tennakoon's path to becoming co-salutatorian at East Granby High School went through nine different schools and living in six different communities, before she finally settled into East Granby during her sophomore year.

“Just like any kid, I was really nervous and I had been the new girl in school a few times,” Tennakoon recalled. “I was not sure the kids would like me or accept me.”

Krista Dionne, on the other hand, has spent her entire life in East Granby. Shared experiences with her more than 70 classmates started in kindergarten with their school play, through elementary school, middle school dances, the death of a classmate, and on to senior year.

When Tennakoon moved into town, she fell in love with the experience Dionne had her entire life.

“This was one of the most welcoming communities I have ever come to,” said Tennakoon. “I definitely learned not to take East Granby for granted.”

Dionne and Tennakoon became good friends, and were in friendly competition to battle for the top spots in the class. Both said they were thrilled with the tie and with the opportunity both of them had to speak at the graduation ceremony.

“We both came from two different backgrounds, and I think our speeches will help give our class different perspectives,” said Tennakoon.

Dionne said making it to graduation to speak is the result of the dedication they both had to their studies.

“The two of us both worked really hard to get here,” said Dionne. “We spent a lot of hours doing homework. It took a lot of motivation.”

Just as these two girls' lives have perfectly intersected, they will now branch apart on paths of study that their 4.4 grade point averages have earned them. Dionne will pursue medicine at Dickinson College, while Tennakoon plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Connecticut.

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