Stafford grads get words of wisdom

Stafford grads get words of wisdom

By Annie Gentile

“This is a very special class,” said Francis Kennedy, principal of Stafford High School. “They’re true philanthropists. I’m very proud of them, and trust they will be the kinds of kids that make a difference in the world.”

On June 16, commencement exercises for the Class of 2010 were held in the school’s gymnasium. Surrounded by family and friends, 93 students accepted their diplomas, along with numerous awards and scholarships.

“What defines us as a class is that we are all passionate about something,” said valedictorian Alexandra Byrne. Byrne encouraged her classmates to continue doing what they were passionate about in high school, and to harness those passions in the years ahead to drive them through difficult times. “We need courage to face our fears and wisdom to solve our problems,” she said.

Salutatorian Katelyn Summers reminded her fellow classmates that greatness lies in each one of them. “Through both our struggles and our victories, we have made it together,” she said.

Keynote speakers emphasized the realities of living in an imperfect world, and the importance of rising to challenges they will encounter. Guest speaker Mary Ellen Glover, who has served 40 years as a guidance counselor in the Stafford schools, spoke of the importance of developing a positive attitude. “Each of you possesses the power to make a difference,” she said.

Mark Fontanella, chairman of the Board of Education, encouraged students to get involved in outside activities, to volunteer their time, and to come back to Stafford to share their success stories.

“Stafford is a community that cares,” said First Selectman Michael Krol. “Each of you can make a difference.”

For many students, the evening was somewhat bittersweet, with the realization that they would soon all be going their separate ways. However, for one last special evening, they were all together again, surrounded by family, friends, flowers, balloons and plenty of congratulatory hugs to go around. “We know you’ll be successful,” said Superintendent of Schools Thérèse Fishman. “But we will miss you.”

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