True happiness encouraged by academic leaders at Ellis Tech

True happiness encouraged by academic leaders at Ellis Tech

By Sarah L. Hamby Staff Writer

“If it is to be...” said Brian K. Mignault, Sr., Ph.D., principal of Harvard H. Ellis Technical High School as he looked out over the Class of 2010 on June 15, “...it’s up to me,” the graduates answered in unison.

More than 125 students, from 10 shops, received diplomas that afternoon. Family members gathered on the hill to watch and listen as each name was called, cheering as each graduate crossed to receive the proof of academic achievement in the amphitheater built by Ellis Tech students years before.

State Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling) spoke to the class, reminding them that lawmakers depended on enlightened citizens to be active and informed, preserving our nation and our democracy, before class leaders stepped up to the podium. Salutatorian Christian Bollinger, an 18-year-old National Honor Society member from Pomfret Center, is headed to UConn to pursue a career in mechanical engineering after four years in electronics technology at Ellis. Bollinger, successful in shop fairs, winner of the Superintendent’s Award and a Presidential Scholar, advised his classmates to remember that success is not measured in wealth or fame, but in happiness. “I am successful,” he said, “as long as I am happy even when I have little.”

Valedictorian and Class President Josh Tracy noticed that there were fewer seniors than there had been freshmen in his class – acknowledging the loss of friends and commenting on the state of the world, including the economy, the impact of bird/swine flu and the Gulf oil spill. “At some point, we even lost a planet,” he chuckled. Tracy left the audience quiet for a moment after his speech, much of it attributed (albeit incorrectly) to George Carlin. Tracy quoted “The Paradox of Our Age,” a piece written by Dr. Bob Moorehead, a pastor who retired more than 10 years ago after some controversy:

“We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.”

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