PLAINVILLE - Although it was pouring outside, the weather couldnât put a damper on the pride Plainville High Schoolâs Class of 2019 felt when they stepped up to receive their diplomas Tuesday.
The graduation was held in the gym of the high school, with family members and friends packing the bleachers. Some waved congratulatory signs, others brought balloons or flowers, many cheered and took pictures to remember this milestone. One family even waved a giant cardboard cut-out of their daughterâs face.
After the procession of graduates filed in and took their seats, Class President Maddie Rund was there to welcome everyone.
Town Councilor Jesse Gnazzo read a proclamation in honor of the graduates on behalf of the council and told the graduates they would always have a home in Plainville.
âCongratulations to all of you,â he said. âI know many of you in this class personally - my son Ben is a member of this class. Plainville is a place where we know each other and care about each other. You may not know it now, but you are fortunate to have spent a portion of your life growing up in a small town. No matter where you go in the world, youâll always have a community, a family and a place to call home in Plainville.â
Deborah Hardy, chair of the Board of Education, then provided the graduates with sage advice.
âToday is a milestone in your life that will hold a special place in your memory,â she said. âYour future is full of promise and I believe you are all well prepared to face the challenges ahead. Life will take you in many directions. Choose wisely and never forget your experiences at Plainville High School.â
Maureen Brummett, outgoing superintendent of schools, also gave the graduates some advice for their futures.
âYou are an amazing group of students not only in terms of academic accomplishments, but also in terms of kindness and compassion,â she said. âYour volunteerism is unsurpassed - you are truly a special group of young men and women. You all have so much to give as you head off to your next phase in life. Continue to dream big, never lose your courage and continue to be the kind, caring, wonderful people you are.â
Faculty member Steve Michaud also took his turn advising the graduates.
âThis ceremony marks the end of a significant era - your childhood,â he said. âAfter tonight there will be no uniform plan for each of you. You get to make your own plan and take control of the direction of your life.â
Michaud told students to remember the âthree pillars of happinessâ to get what they want our of life: âlive within your means,â âyouâve got to love your jobâ and âget to know and truly love yourself.â
He also encouraged them to trust their gut instincts and to cultivate and grow relationships with family and friends.
Next, the graduates heard from their exemplary peers.
Salutatorian Daniel Szymula thanked his parents, his friends and all those that supported him throughout his education.
âThis ceremony tonight is not only symbolic of my hard work and dedication, but also all of your hard work and dedication to me and for that I thank each and every one of you,â he said.
Valedictorian Rachel Parsons encouraged her peers to go out and be the change they want to see in the world.
âThis is the time in our lives where we are unstoppable,â she said. âEverything that has ever made you mad about the world is now your job to change. We are no longer the children in classrooms being told that the world is not fair after not getting to sit next to a friend in art class. We are now the people in the world making the decisions about right and wrong. And for those that try to hold you back from this right, all thatâs left to say is âdonât stop me now.ââ
Then, following a nostalgic look back at their four years at Plainville High School read by several students, the long-awaited moment at last arrived. As students were called up one by one, their public school years were over. They were now prepared to move on to higher education, trade schools, careers, the military or wherever their destinies would take them.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.