By MIKE CHAIKEN
Bristol Central High School’s Class of 2014 said farewell to where they’ve been for the past 13 years and said hello to their futures as the seniors accepted their diplomas at commencement exercises last Thursday night.
Prior to walking through the gym in front of family and friends, the soon-to-be graduates waited in the hallways of their home for the past four years— waiting and contemplating.
Asked how he felt about the impending graduation, senior Bob Jacques said, “I’m really excited. I’ve had a good time at the school. It’s going to be sad to see it end. But I look forward to the future.” He will be attending Boston College in the fall to major in business.
Brianna Mahaney, as she waited for her diploma, said in a straight-forward fashion, “I feel like I’m going to puke.” As for how she felt about her future in beauty school and beyond, “I’m excited but I’m scared.”
“I’m nervous,” said Jennifer Fannon,”I don’t want to trip.” Regarding her life beyond Central and Tunxis Community College, Fannon said, “I feel good. I’m excited. Hopefully, all will go well.
Regarding the graduation, Ileish Burney also said she felt excited. As for her future beyond the Bristol public schools (Wesleyan University in Virginia), Burney said, “I’m pretty excited, anxious, but a little nervous.”
As for Lauren Vallee, who will be attending Baypath University in Massachusetts, “I’m pretty scared (to go on from here) because I don’t want to go into the real world. But I have to. It’s inevitable.”
During her valedictory address, Skylar Wright told her fellow graduates, “Although our stories will never entwine again, our alma mater will still connect us. It wasn’t easy for any of us, but we’re all here, with some help along the way.”
Working from the theme of the graduation, “Carpe Diem” (“Seize the Day”), salutatorian Brittany Murphy cited a variety of different days such as “mental health days,” “birthdays,” and “snow days.” “Which of these should we seize? The answer is all of them…We should make the most of every day, no matter what day it is.”
Mayor Ken Cockayne also addressed the graduates, noting that at one time he was in their place. And like them, he said also was excited, as well as a little fearful. But, mostly, he told them, their excitement was well placed.
In her remarks, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ellen Solek gave some advice to the graduates, “Along your journey, may you find the courage to conquer your fears, and overcome your failures with strength and grace.”
And as for the BCHS Class of 2014 as a unit, BCHS principal Pete Wininger told the students they made the high school “a better place.”