By Olivia Jablonski
483 students have successfully graduated from New Britain High school on Thursday, June 16.
The graduation took place at Veterans Memorial Stadium located in Willow Brook Park on 635 South Main Street in New Britain at 11 a.m.
On this special and sunny day, students and administrators throughout the school district of New Britain gathered around the field while the New Britain High School Band played Pomp and Circumstance. The band was conducted by Drum Major and graduating senior, Margaret Keithline.
The graduation ceremony officially began with the presentation of colors by the New Britain High School, Junior Reserve Officer Training Program and a performance of the National Anthem, sung by graduating seniors Larielyz Rosa and Constance Rubitz.
Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, president of the New Britain Board of Education, opened the speaking portion of the ceremony by recalling some of the world’s greatest thinkers, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali. She also charged each student to push the limits and challenge themselves every day.
“When I look out at the sea of red and gold sitting before me, I see unlimited potential. I see a graduating class with supreme capabilities. You are the generation who will redefine who we are as a country. You are the generation that will take all our advancements and keep moving us forward,” said Beloin-Saavedra.
Mayor of New Britain, Erin Stewart, talked about numerous success stories of those who have graduated from New Britain High School. She challenged the graduates to break down barriers and not use anything as an excuse when going through life.
“All of those people came from New Britain, under many of the same circumstances that each one of you all came from today. Don’t tell me you can’t make it. Each one of you has absolutely no excuse. The only person standing in your way is you. That may mean taking risks and embracing change but change is good. It’s a big world out there, 2016. It’s time for you to go to explore it…don’t forget the city that made you who you are no matter where you end up in life,” said Stewart
Nancy Sarra, Superintendent of Schools, told the graduates to never close doors on the potential opportunities that are waiting for them, regardless of the path they decide to embark on. She echoed the sentiments of Mayor Stewart by telling them to never make excuses.
“Don’t make excuses for why you can’t do something. Figure out a way you can. Every thought or statement you make should begin with ‘When I become,’ not ‘if I become.’ We are the masters of our destiny by every action and every step we take each day,” said Sarra.
Elizabeth Crooks, Interim Principal at New Britain High School, asked the graduates to reflect on the past 13 years, and to also look forward to what their life now holds for them moving forward. She encouraged them to never stop learning.
“Wherever life may lead you, career, military, or college and then career, always be eager to learn. A constant love of learning will keep your mind sharp and open to new ideas. No matter where you are and what you learn, new learning will help you continually grow as a person and expand your opportunities,” said Crooks.
Michael Foran, Principal of the NBHS Satellite Career Academy, also spoke and talked about the investment of education.
“Your principal, your satellite principal, your superintendent and your board president all have something in common. They are all parents of NBHS graduates. They have all invested the greatest gift we can to our children and entrusted our children to this school system, just as your parents and families did with you. New Britain High School is a very special place, as is the Satellite academy,” said Foran.
Senior Hawley Brown, Class Valedictorian, used her favorite poem, O Me! O Life by Walt Whitman to drive her point home to her classmates.
“High school is a time of endless questioning. It is a time of figuring out who we are and finding our place in the world. The impossible question of the purpose of our existence echoes in our minds, taunting us with the inevitability of nothingness… And we are here. We have made it, in more ways than one. We are here, and that is what matters. A world of endless opportunity awaits us, and our potential is as wide as the ever-expanding universe,” recited Brown.
After the diplomas were handed out, the members of the graduating class sang Alma Mater and Crooks instructed the graduating class to move their tassels to the left as they officially became members of the Class of 2016.