With temperatures soaring to upwards of 98 degrees in West Hartford, seniors donned their blue and white robes and tried to stay cool during a meaningful and exciting graduation event. The ceremony began as a crowd of hundreds settled into their seats, many with umbrellas, handheld fans and water to try and beat the heat as best they could.
Dr. Donald Slater, principal, led the event in a lighthearted and personable manner, praising students for accomplishments and acknowledging that the heat would probably shorten most of the speeches.
Slater asked student Alex Putterman to stand and receive a round of applause for having a perfect attendance record, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. "This is not only an astounding achievement," said Slater, "it's unbelievable, man!"
Alex Putterman's father, Board of Education chair Bruce Putterman, also addressed the graduates. "Always consider the advice that people may offer you, even if you don’t like the advice-giver or the way the advice was given. Try to be curious, not dismissive," he said.
Also singled out for commendation was Regan C. Considine, one of 114 Presidential Scholars who recently returned from Washington, D.C. on June 16. During the graduation ceremony, Slater presented her with a Presidential Scholar medal.
Slater talked about the graduating class mentioning their many efforts to be active in the local and global community by doing charity work, their unique diversity, and how at one point he had challenged them to raise their school spirit, which they did. This class also made the monumental decision to feeling it was disrespectful to Native Americans – something which brought them statewide attention.
Couched in beautiful string, vocal and instrumental music, the ceremony continued with Caroline Bye addressing her peers. Bye's speech was chosen anonymously by the Senior Class Leadership Board to be presented on the night of graduation.
Bye spoke of ever-changing priorities and how even from 9th to 12th grade, her own thoughts changed on what "she knows." Now Bye said,"I am more scared to be my current self than I was of seniors in my freshman year."
Nearly 400 students, then, made their way, one by one, up the ramp to receive their diplomas – the moment they had all been working toward and waiting for.
Congratulations to the Hall High School class of 2012!