Tolland High School grads urged to improve the world

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Tue., Jun. 28, 2011
(L-r) Emily Isch, Emma Jo Stakiewicz, Emily Sattler, Micaela Hussey, Erin Mulry and Audrey Corbin are ready to graduate from Tolland High School on June 27. Photos by Steve Smith.
(L-r) Emily Isch, Emma Jo Stakiewicz, Emily Sattler, Micaela Hussey, Erin Mulry and Audrey Corbin are ready to graduate from Tolland High School on June 27. Photos by Steve Smith.

Tolland High School’s June 27 commencement exercises featured Manchester Community College associate professor and author Lucy Anne Hurston, who encouraged the graduates to always think for themselves.

“It is expected that you will be life-long learners,” said Hurston. “The world continues to change, and it needs thinkers. It needs people that are not sheep. We got into the mess that we are in today by there being too many sheep in the world. Do not be sheep. Stand up, ask questions, say no.”

Hurston also praised the class for its character and asked the students to continue their hard work.

“It looks like the world’s going to be in pretty good shape if this is what’s coming down the pike,” she said, gesturing to the graduates. “You are your brothers' and sisters' keepers. You are the stewards of the Earth.”

The student speakers echoed Hurston’s sentiment.

Salutatorian Solomon Boucher said that he and his classmates have worked hard, and that it will pay off.

“I know we’ve all put in long hours of not just schoolwork, but also participating in a wide assortment of clubs, activities and athletics,” he said. “Although those activities are key to any successful school environment, they are even more important for what they represent. They prove that each of us has the energy and dedication to try to improve – the ingredients that will soon turn into successful lives, healthy communities and a productive human race.”

Valedictorian Beverly Naigles encouraged her classmates to always seek education, no matter what path their lives take.

“Whether this is the end of our formal education or not, we should always continue to seek a true education,” Naigles said. “A real education teaches you how to question. Some of the smartest people I know are people who ask questions for a living. Education is becoming so interested in something, that we have an infinite number of questions about it, and really want to find the answers.”

Naigles added that true education is also about continuing to question the answers to questions.

“In that case, education is when you sit down and have a conversation with someone else, and get so many more ideas to think about,” she said. “Even if you don’t determine anything, education teaches you to have that conversation. It teaches you to want to know more, to always be curious, and to never settle for the easy answer.”


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