Under a near-cloudless sky, with a still-strong sun shining upon them, the 48th graduating class of Montville High School tossed their caps and cheered, hugged and cried and shared their last goodbye to their high school careers.
“In the words of the Grateful Dead, what a long strange trip it’s been,” said Principal Chad D. Ellis as he heaped praise upon the Class of 2012. “You’ve taught me a lot …even how to do the Dougie.”
In attendance was Montville Mayor Ronald McDaniel, Town Councilors, Board of Education members, Schools superintendent Pam Aubin and state officials.
Salutatorian and Class President Christiana ‘C.C.’ Ciaudelli, told her classmates to, in the words of Steve Jobs, “Do what you believe is great work…”
And valedictorian Tendai Chisowa, who employed a bit of humor when she suggested that her fellow graduates should pursue their educational and career goals …”or even hang out in your parent’s basement for the next few years.”
But on a more serious note, Chisowa spoke about coming to the U.S. from Africa when she was five and how she and her family struggled while her father attended college and how grateful she was for the help they received. And she took that theme and then encouraged her peers to remember that a person’s true value is determined by her “contributions.”
Keynote speaker, Brigadier General John T. Qunitas, MHS Class of 1984, told the graduates that integrity, being an inspiration to others and service was the three characteristics one should aspire to.
“Live your life with integrity, inspire your generation and serve a cause that is greater then yourself,” he said. “Doesn’t measure your (success) by money, a house, your career,” he said, “Measure it by how many you’ve helped.”
Following that address, the diplomas were awarded and one by one, as each student was presented family members in the bleachers cheered and called out congratulations. And once all had been awarded their degrees, tassels were moved and caps flew in the air.
The Montville Alma Mater processional followed and then, once the graduates were filing off the field, the concert band struck up ‘Hit The Road Jack.’