[Ralph Tomaselli: ] CHESHIRE — The looming threat of rain did not dampen the spirits of the 2019 graduating class of Cheshire High School, who braved cool temperatures and overcast skies in an outdoor ceremony Thursday evening.
A total of 369 graduating seniors were surrounded by family, friends, teachers, and peers outside on the Maclary Athletic Complex. It was the exact event that seniors Lilly Greenquist and Regan Kranyak had hoped would conclude their time at Cheshire High.
“It’s a very exciting time for our class to be together for one last time,” Greenquist said.
During the ceremony, seniors heard from classmates who imparted important information for the journey ahead.
In his speech, Class President Mark Dellostritto reflected on the power of the words “Thank you.” He recalled a text he recently received from a classmate who thanked him for being kind to her throughout her time in school.
Dellostritto urged his peers to do the same.
“Go thank those people who got you through high school … imagine how much it will mean to someone that they played a major role in helping you graduate,” he said.
Salutatorian Ankit Sahasrabudhe took the opportunity to look back on his most memorable experiences at Cheshire High, including attending sports games and meetings of the Young Democrats.
Sahasrabudhe said as he and his classmates leave high school, they will wish they appreciated their time together “a little bit more.”
“With the tiny amount of time we have left, let’s not be guilty of it anymore,” he said. “Let’s take time to appreciate one another now, not later.”
Valedictorian Yasin Tarabar shared a story of when he and a few of his friends went to the beach last month. While they were deep in the freezing water, a man named John challenged the group to submerge themselves—heads and all—into the ocean. When they spoke later, John urged Tarabar and his friends to always remain connected.
Tarabar imparted John’s message to his classmates.
“Hold on to the people in your lives,” Tarabar said. “Stay in touch with the people who care about you. Appreciate your old friends. Take them to the beach, and don’t be afraid to make new ones.”
Commencement speaker Talia Yavorek compared her four years to a movie, complete with parents acting as paparazzi, teachers as directors, and students as the stars.
“This is our high school graduation—the pinnacle of all good teen movies,” Yavorek said. “There’s no other cast that I would have rather been a part of.”
School Superintendent Jeff Solan urged the seniors to slow down and live in the moment in a world riddled with instant gratification.
“Share one last gift with your classmates — your attention,” he said. “Look one another in the eyes when you’re speaking … The world is passing by us at an alarming rate of speed. Take time to be in it.”
Cheshire High Principal Mary Gadd compared the graduating class to threads woven together.
“The relationships and connections you formed are in no way ending today because you are graduating,” she said.
” … I have no doubt this class will continue to enrich our community and share all they have learned.”