By MIKE CHAIKEN
Inside the gymnasium, as family and friends gathered along the football field for the ceremonies to become, the soon-to-be graduates of the Bristol Eastern High School spent their last moments together as classmates last Thursday.
Taking selfies was a popular activity. There were a few students adjusting their mortar boards and gowns. There were plenty of conversations. And just some milling about, waiting for the signal to begin the walk from the school to the far end of the football field to take their places, where they would receive their diplomas.
Cassidy Cote, one of the graduations, said, “I’m very nervous. It’s very surreal. I don’t feel like I’m graduating. It’s been a long journey.”
“It doesn’t feel real yet,” said Brianna Wilson, “but I’m a very emotional person so I get sentimental really easy. But I’m definitely going to miss (high school).”
“It really hasn’t set for me yet,” said Nina Pasqua. “I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now as the days get closer and the minutes get closer. It still hasn’t hit me so I feel as soon as I walk across that stage that it’s really going to hit me that I’m graduating.”
“I don’t know (what I’m going to miss),” said Cassidy. “I think just the community. I love being with my friends every day and the community at Bristol Eastern is really great.”
“Probably (I’m going to miss the music department, being a part of it, and all of the groups I was a part of,” said Brianna. “I’m part of Strawberry Fields… forever. I’m in band. And I’m part of the regular choir.”
Nina said, “I’m definitely going to miss the sports program. I am also part of the music program. But sports is something that’s really, really been important to me. I’ve done 12 seasons here (at Eastern). I have 12 varsity letters. I’m going to college for it. So it’s something that’s dear to my heart.”
Later, after the graduates too to the field, class president Cassidy Yates told the Class of 2016, “Cherish these last moments we have together. Lock these moments in your memory.”
As the students proceeded from that moment forward, class vice president Camron Rivera said in his speech, “We will always be learning. In the end, that is what we are meant to do: to gain all the wisdom we can and live our lives to the fullest extent; to make a name for ourselves.”
“Life is made of so many small moments that can easily pass by and be forgotten,” said BEHS principal Carly Fortin in her remarks to students, “so one must be grateful for these (small moments).”
“Everyone of you can be special,” Board of Educatoin vice chair Karen Vibert told the graduates. “We are graduating a group of students who are capable of doing great things.”
“Your high school graduation is yet another beginning,” said Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Kalt Moreau.
“You’re an adult and now you’re responsible for your own life,” said councilor Jodi Zils Gagne in her speech.
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN