Stafford High School Class of 2013 says goodbye, looks back on fond memories

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., Jun. 27, 2013
(L-r) Vanessa Knowlton, Suzhaunna Lerch, Evan Cummins and Alex Huffman are four exemplary seniors from the Stafford High School Class of 2013 who have made a positive impact on their class, their school and the greater Stafford community. Photo by Annie Gentile.
(L-r) Vanessa Knowlton, Suzhaunna Lerch, Evan Cummins and Alex Huffman are four exemplary seniors from the Stafford High School Class of 2013 who have made a positive impact on their class, their school and the greater Stafford community. Photo by Annie Gentile.

Every graduating class has a few students who have been standouts during their high school careers. This year the administration can point to four students of Stafford High School’s Class of 2013 who have gone the extra distance in giving of themselves for the good of their school and the greater Stafford community.

“Before I started high school, I sort of floated along, but when I got to high school I wanted to make an impact and improve the high school experiences for other students as well,” said Evan Cummins.

Cummins has served as class president for all four years of his time at Stafford High and has been involved in the Drama Club, both as part of the stage crew and later playing minor roles in school productions. “When I was a freshman I was encouraged to join a music or drama group as one of the best ways to become a well-rounded and involved student,” said Cummins. “I decided band was not for me and I’m not at all a good singer, but I fell in love with drama,” he said.

Cummins has also served as Student Council president and has been an active member of the Service Corp, a club that does volunteer work in the community. After graduation, Cummins plans to go to Boston College to double-major in philosophy and an as-yet-undecided second major.

Suzhaunna Lerch has been very active in the National Honor Society during her junior and senior years, serving as secretary for the organization in her senior year. She has also been involved in peer mentoring in her junior and senior years.

“Basically, I would be assigned to talk to a freshman or sophomore who might be having a hard time adapting to high school either socially or with their class work,” said Lerch. She said she was also a peer tutor as a senior, helping students to make sure they got their homework completed. “Sometimes students need help in becoming more goal-oriented, and I really like to be able to help people out,” she said.

Lerch also served as captain of the field hockey team in her senior year, finishing the season with an impressive 14-1-3 record, and she was voted prom queen in her junior year and homecoming queen in her senior year.

With approximately 100 students in her graduating class, Lerch said she has enjoyed the closeness of the class and is friends with everyone. She said she will miss the entire environment at Stafford High and the good relationship she has had with her teachers. This fall Lerch plans to attend Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., where she plans to major in psychology and also play on the field hockey team.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of school activities at Stafford High,” said Vanessa Knowlton. “I was treasurer of the Class of 2013 and I also played soccer all four years, serving as co-captain in my senior year,” she said. She added that she was a member of the National Honor Society and treasurer for that organization as well.

Knowlton also was involved in musical groups at Stafford High, participating in the Madrigals and Show Choir, but it was the Stafford High School Drama Club’s performance of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” this past year where Knowlton really got to shine. “I participated in drama all four years, and this year I was also lucky enough to get the lead in that show. I also choreographed the entire show,” said Knowlton. “On Monday nights I would be at the school until 8 p.m. with the Madrigals and Show Choir and the rest of the week with drama until 6 p.m., and then 8 p.m. as we got closer to the show.

Knowlton plans to continue following her interest in drama, pursuing a degree in musical theater at Western Connecticut State University.

Alex Huffman said he wasn’t involved in too many extra-curricular activities in his earlier years at Stafford High, but in his senior year he joined the Madrigal Singers as well as the Drama Club, capping his involvement there playing a Chinese henchman in the production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

“I do work with the community through the Boy Scouts and this year I’ve been working on my Eagle Scout project repairing the well house that is [the town’s] symbol,” said Huffman. “It’s located next to the Stafford Historical Society in the downtown area and was last restored in 1989. It was covered in graffiti and had wood panels that had begun to rot. I’ve replaced the paneling and we’re in the process of finishing the roof,” he said.

Huffman said he will always have a lot of special memories of Stafford High, especially meeting and getting to know all the students in the music department. His future plans are to attend Rochester Institute of Technology, where he will study game design and development.

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