Somers High co-valedictorians say goodbye to Vision Boulevard
By Jennifer Holloway - Staff Writer
Somers - posted Thu., Jun. 23, 2011
For the second time in five years, Somers High School’s top two students finished so closely to one other in the class rank that they were named co-valedictorians. For Kathryn Squillace and Tom Gay, Vision Boulevard has been their home since kindergarten and first grade, respectively.
“It’s weird to move away,” said Squillace. “This place has been our home for years.”
Students in the Somers district move from elementary to middle to high school by simply crossing the street, as all three schools and the public library are on the same 115-acre campus.
“It’s got its own little atmosphere,” said Gay.
Within this atmosphere, both recent graduates have experienced many memories, some of which Squillace shared in her speech to the Class of 2011 at the commencement ceremonies on June 21. She remembered the elementary school being named a National Blue Ribbon School during their time there - something she said is a huge honor, but was probably mostly remembered by the students for the blue popsicles they enjoyed.
Thinking back to the same time period, Gay recalled a group of boys, himself included, who headed out to the clover fields during recess to stomp honeybees.
As they moved up the street to the high school, more carefree memories were replaced with the stresses of harder classes; however, both spoke highly of how well the school prepared them for graduating. Squillace said by their senior year, she felt the school rewarded students with more freedom, most often experienced during field trips.
Gay began feeling this freedom his freshman year in the band. A trumpet player, Gay said consistent trips to New York City were times when he and other students were given more independence to explore.
One amusing memory that invoked drastic change happened at the beginning of senior year to the very road that has been their home away from home for so long.
“I’ll never forget when they changed the road so they could legally ticket us,” Gay said, laughing. Following the change, students, parents and faculty were forced to obey the 15-mile-per-hour speed limit and several stop signs along the short trail of asphalt.
With pockets full of fond memories and a few not so favorable ones, Gay and Squillace will move on - Gay to the University of Connecticut, and Squillace to Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. Neither can believe the time has come, yet both feel the education and support they received at Somers has more than prepared them for their next steps in life.