Accomplished EHS class ready to tee off on the world
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Sat., Jun. 25, 2011
As the class of 2011 graduated from Ellington High School, principal Neil Rinaldi had to take in extra breath in order to list the outgoing seniors’ accomplishments.
The 2011-ers were responsible for an exemplary Veterans’ Day assembly, an impactful and topical theatrical production about bullying, a medal-winning music program, and top-notch sports teams, including the Class M state champion girls’ cross-country team.
Academically, Rinaldi said, 15 percent made the honor roll for four consecutive years, two students were recommended as National Merit Scholars, and 16 were presidential award recipients.
As he asked the class to wave to their parents, Rinaldi said, “these are the hands of the collaborators, innovators, communicators, and critical thinkers who will lead us through the 21st century.”
Salutatorian Christopher Wing spoke about what he hopes the class of 2011 will accomplish in the future.
“We have control of our destinies, and the power to make a difference in the world,” Wing said. “We need to believe in ourselves as we enter the next stage in our lives.”
Wing also encouraged his classmates to give thanks to their families for supporting them by sharing that same giving spirit with others.
“Let us demonstrate our appreciation for what others have done for us, by showing generosity to the world,” he said. “Giving back to the community and improving the lives of other people brings the greatest satisfaction in life.”
Valedictorian Nicholas Larew said he had trouble writing his speech, so he went to his second home – the golf course.
“As I was walking down the fairway, everything became clear to me,” he said, likening life to a game of golf. “For me, it is so much more than a game. You get bad breaks from good shots, and good breaks from bad shots. You have to play the ball where it lies. Anyone who has golfed even once before knows it’s not easy. You can strike the drive down the fairway, but still get a double-bogey.”
Larew said even non-golfers can learn a life lesson from the game.
“You can’t just expect to be good at anything, without putting in time and hard work,” he said. “If you want to excel at anything, you have to have dedication, perseverance, and the will to push on, even when it gets difficult.”