The skies broke and the sun appeared late in the day. Students filed into Western Connecticut State University at 3:30 for graduation preparations and formal photos. All of the 270 graduates donned their caps and gowns and shared hugs, chats and of course, photo opportunities before the events began.
The president of the class, Abdullah Hassan, shared laughs and memories of his classmates and talked about the possible degrees in their futures. He said, "I see Jonny Matthews with a degree in speaking and communications, I see Madison Duffy going on to great volleyball success." Hassan also noted that they were the "classiest of classes" at Bethel High School.
Lt Gov Nancy Wyman spoke to the class as keynote speaker and joked about being late due to traffic on I 84. She said that she would have to speak to someone about fixing that. The tone of her speech was that we all start somewhere and go off on different paths, and her hopes that after graduation from college that they "return to their home in Connecticut, as we need you here." She joked about her high stilletto heels and Lady Gaga referance to her LG (Lt Gov) title.
It was bittersweet for Dr Pat Cosentino, who leaves Bethel after 11 years as an administrator in both Berry and Bethel High Schools. She quoted Yogi Berra by saying, "Sometimes you come to a fork in the road and you take it."
Cosentino said that Life is like a snowglobe, which she happens to collect. "The more you shake it, the more exciting it becomes."
The soon-to-be former principal of BHS took a chance and ended her speech in song with a few lines from the broadway show Wicked, "And because I knew you, because I knew you....because I knew you, I have been changed for the good." Cosentino was moving, emotional, and quite good at singing.
Melanie O'Brien spoke on behalf of the Board of Education and was excited to do so as she has a son who was graduating in the class. Drew Gazetos was presented his diploma by his mom as well.
Valedictorian Brian Michalka went on to tell his classmates and soon to be alumni to take their life and enjoy it. His speech was positive and uplifting and so perfect for the moment. A Confucius quote added to it.
The top ten students were awarded medallions and acknowledged to the crowd as were honor society members