Manchester High School Class of 2013: 'Transitions have tempered us'
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Jun. 21, 2013
Manchester High School held its commencement exercises for the graduating Class of 2013 on Thursday, June 20, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Among a class that has distinguished itself by its many accomplishments, two stand-out students represented their classmates at the ceremony: valedictorian Sarah Mangiafico and salutatorian Sam Iacobellis.
Mangiafico is heading to UConn, where she plans on majoring in elementary education and minor in psychology. During her time at MHS, she was a member of the National Honor Society, the Young Educators Society, the Activities Planning Board and the Go Green Club, was a sprinter on the outdoor track and field team, and also worked at Bowers Elementary in the Flash 45 program, giving after-school help to students in reading and math. She also volunteers at Manchester Manor, and helped with many high school functions, such as set-up for dances and holiday parties.
Mangiafico remembers her class as very involved. Be it a dance or football game, there were many students from the Class of 2013 in attendance at any event. Her classmates even voiced their disagreement with the school administration in an organized, respectful manner, she said. When talks were in the works to have students come back for classes immediately after finals, Mangiafico said many of her classmates prepared counter-arguments against the move. “They dealt with it in a very professional way,” she said. “I think that was very cool.”
She leaves with many fond memories of her time at MHS, including senior prom, senior picnic and homecoming dances.
Addressing her classmates at commencement, Mangiafico told her peers that as a class, they have done fearless things since their first day of high school. “Now it’s graduation, and although our time in high school has come to an end, our time to be fearless has not,” she said. “This is just the beginning of our lives, and we have the opportunity to do anything that we want to do; the only things that are holding us back are our fears... By being fearless, we can go wherever we want to go in life, and live with no regrets. I wish you all luck, and I hope that you will all continue to be fearless.”
Iacobellis will be heading to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, where he hopes to major in political science and one day be a political strategist and campaign consultant. He was a member of regular orchestra and chamber orchestra, was on the class board his freshman and sophomore years, and was class president his junior and senior years, was on the varsity tennis team for four years and was team captain his senior year, was on the Manchester Youth Commission, and has been involved in the athletic council and many class functions, such as homecoming.
Iacobellis holds his classmates in the highest esteem. “When we put our ideas, passions and efforts together, we accomplish some of the most dynamic things,” he said. “Our athletes, our musicians, our robotics team, they put egos aside and work for a team goal. And that that led to a lot of success. That has led to banners being raised in our gym, that's led to kids being accepted to honors programs across the region.”
“It's just a high-character class,” he said.
The Class of 2013 has seen many transitions at MHS, and has often been the “guinea pigs” for many new changes. Its members have seen three principals during their four years, were one of the first classes to use the new freshman center, and were the first class to be in accelerated classes. “That has made us very adaptable,” Iacobellis said. “When it comes down to it, we get stuff done. I think a lot of the transitions have tempered us.”
Iacobellis said he will miss the friendships he has made, and is proud of the accomplishments of his peers. He saw that a wide range of people were very involved – not just the 40 or so “movers and shakers” that every class may have, but students across the board. As a result of their involvement, the class has had many accomplishments to its credit, including some of the best fundraisers that the host programs have ever had in their history. “That's something I'm always going to hold dear. It's just a culmination of different kids getting involved across the board,” he said.
Speaking to his class at commencement, Iacobellis said that while his class has many accomplishments to its name, the Class of 2013 will be remembered for something more lasting. “During our time at Manchester High School trophies have been added to showcases, banners have been raised in the gym, and names engraved on countless plaques. These commemorations will not be what we will be remembered by,” he said. “The relationships forged between faculty, staff, the community, and most importantly, one another, will be the mark the Class of 2013 leaves on MHS and the town as a whole.”