The class of 2023 exited as they existed as students at Norwich High School, weighing opportunity and risk, in order to graduate in the midst of the entirety of their supportive community. On this Saturday, the risk paid off.
Under threatening, moisture-laden skies, 128 students received their diplomas from NCSD Board President Christopher Olds during the 132nd commencement exercises.
Family, friends, graduates, and staff members were welcomed to the ceremony by class officers reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and the high school choir reciting the Star Spangled Banner. Class Officers include Alexandra Roque, President, Caiden Lewis, Vice President, Willow Swingle, Secretary and Haley Beckwith, Treasurer. Advisors were Mr. Rich Bernstein and Mrs. Kim Carey.
NCSD Superintendent Scott Ryan challenged the graduates to consider the impact of Theodore Roosevelt's words from his 1910 speech "Man in the Arena", and what it could mean for them to "dare greatly".
In her salutatory speech, classmate Elspeth Hunter reminded students of the importance of connection, especially after their rebound from virtual learning, and prompted her fellow graduates to consider what is the moment they will take with them from their high school days?
Several graduates received scholarships, many students had been awarded scholarships previously during awards nights throughout the month of June. This class is also the first to boast recipients of the Seal of Civic Readiness. Twenty graduates, including Grayson Boyer, Drew Brooks, Emma Brooks, Sarah Davis, Nathan Franklin, Donovan Gillen, Caiden Lewis, Barbara Maricle, Caleb Nichols, Adrianna Palmer, Nicholas Ragonese, Halie Rotundo, Elli Ryan, Kayla Sherman, Nicole Sitts, Aleksander Smeitana, Willow Swingle, Nora Thompson, Kaleb Turner, and Ella White demonstrated achievement in the criteria of a high level of proficiency in civic knowledge, civic mindset, civic skills, and civic experiences. Students completed 25 hours of community service, reflected on that community service, and engaged in a civic capstone project.
Valedictorian Emma Brooks highlighted advice from her grandfather as a foundation for her success. His advice was always to "control the controllables" and Brooks utilized his lessons to help maintain and sustain her focus throughout her high school career. Brooks also urged the graduates to join her in thanking staff, family, and community members for supporting graduates to this point.
This class boasted 24 members of the National Honor Society and six members of the National Technical Honor Society.
Norwich High School Principal Jacob Roe urged the graduates to draw on the attributes of bamboo, which exhibits strength and resilience, and to always recall their roots.
Class President Alexandra Roque led the graduates in the turning of the tassels as they relished one final moment together as NCSD students. We extend our gratitude to the class of 2023 for all of their contributions in the classroom, on the fields, on the courts, and in our community. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.