Eleven rings of the bell commemorate 125th graduating class at SHS

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Stafford - posted Fri., Jun. 24, 2011
Stafford High School Class of 2011 Vice President Anna Bombard rings the old SHS bell 11 times in honor of the Class of 2011 - SHS' 125th graduating class. Photo by Lauri Voter.
Stafford High School Class of 2011 Vice President Anna Bombard rings the old SHS bell 11 times in honor of the Class of 2011 - SHS' 125th graduating class. Photo by Lauri Voter.

The Stafford High School Class of 2011 “will be known as the class that gave of itself each year through projects, drives and activities,” said class president and salutatorian Julie Dillon in her graduation speech on June 22. She cited examples of her peers' good works, which included conducting a toy drive for Toys for Tots, creating preschool bags for the Head Start program, conducting drives and donating holiday gift bags to Evergreen Health Care Center and organizing a school-wide collection for the tornado victims in Monson, Mass., just to name a few.

“These kids have been on task since the day they walked in the building, and they've done more service projects than any class I have seen in 25 years,” said class advisor Laurie Dillon, who is also Julie Dillon’s mother.

Laurie Dillon's colleague and Class of 2011 advisor, Barbara Honda, described these students as hardworking. “They are a wonderful group of kids. We can ask anything of them and they will do it and do it well. They come up with things on their own. I’m very proud of them,” said Honda.

The Class of 2011 was recognized as Stafford High School's 125th senior class. As such, during the June 22 ceremony, the class continued a ritual of donating a tree to a previous landmark class by honoring the Class of 1986. The “centurian-class” of 1986 was presented with a tree, which was accepted by 1986 Class President John Madden and 1986 class member Damian Frassinelli, who is also the school’s athletic director.

Anna Bombard, the 2011 class vice president, rang the bell that once hung in the old school on High Street. It has since been entrusted to the Stafford Historical Society, but reappeared next to the podium for the June 22 graduation to further commemorate the occasion.

Class of 2011 valedictorian Thomas Szymanski addressed his fellow seniors, saying, “Be proud of yourselves for persevering through even the most difficult times. But as always, you could not have accomplished this alone. Parents, teachers and fellow students made it possible for each one of you to be sitting here as a graduating senior and deserve just as much praise. Finally, as we all go our different ways, look forward to the future, but do not forget your experience here.”

Guest speaker Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman congratulated the graduates and their families.

“Each of you will take a different path to where you want to go,” said Wyman, who suggested to the students that they should always be prepared for change, and not be afraid of unexpected turns, but to see them as opportunities. She also encouraged the students to return to Connecticut after their endeavors. “No matter where you go, what you do, we need you back here in Connecticut. This is your home,” Wyman said.

By the close of the ceremonies, 106 students received diplomas. The ceremony concluded with a reception for the graduates and their families.

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