Milford grads recall memories of school

MILFORD – The memories began with Halloween and ended with the scramble of senior year.

There were memories of good times and not so good times, and most of all, there was gratitude for everything they learned and every­one who helped them learn.

High school, for the 193 members of Milford’s Class of 2016, ended Sat­urday, June 11, with ceremonies at the football field. The rest of their lives began there, too.

Timothy Tamulonis led the cer­emonies, and class officers Jack Briggs and Maxwell Urda were the first to speak. They worked as a "tag team," quickly going through their school his­tory, beginning with first grade, when the most fun was parading around the Milford Oval in costume on Halloween.

Finally came high school, "the best of times and the worst of times," because of the difficulties of balancing sports, aca­demics and social lives.

Thanks to their teach­ers, they said, "We have thrived," with Milford High School "providing us with many things except a stable roof," a reference to one of the old building’s deficiencies.

Valedictorian Michael Schedin thanked his par­ents, classmates, team­mates and teachers for "putting up with my know-it-all attitude." He com­pared the difficulties of school life to putting to­gether a puzzle – a puzzle that came together with the help of friends.

"Four years ago, we came here a little scram­bled," he said, and as if on cue, the papers from which he was reading his speech flew away repeat­edly.

"There was no wind when I practiced in the lecture hall," he said.

Principal Brad Craven told the graduates, "The greatest kick for me is see­ing you in your many di­mensions … as people. … I can’t be pessimistic about the future.

"You are kinder than we were," he said. Te a c h e r s are kinder, too. Craven described his experi­ences as a child in a Boston-area Catholic school, tormented by two "large and formidable ‘Sisters of Perpetual Rage,’ " who had "right hooks that could leave a mark."

In contrast, Craven re­called one of the best memories of this school year, when 180 Jacques M e m o r i a l School first-g r a d e r s marched up West Street for a day of games, races and ice cream at the high school.

"I felt like a kid until one of the children said, ‘I think you were my grandma’s teacher,’ " he said.

Craven urged the gradu­ates to make the most of their time by shedding their narrow identity clas­sifications.

"You defy definition," he said. "Leave yourself open. … Do good things. It’s been my joy to know you."

Superintendent of Schools Robert Marquis thanked parents for ev­erything they did over the years to get their children to this point: waking them up in the morning, picking them up when they were sick, attending performances, conferences and open houses, "helping us as we work with your sons and daughters as they grew into responsible, caring men and women."

Some of them will be the first in their families to attend college, which "will change the family’s narrative," Marquis said. He told the parents that for them, as well, "It is never too late to change your own narrative."

Between speeches, the graduates, their parents, grandparents and friends were entertained by the school’s mixed chorus, concert band and the West Street Beat, the jazz band.

For their high aca­demic achievements, eight seniors were named summa cum laude by Paul Christensen, direc­tor of student services: Allison Betelak, Miranda Jacques, Shannon Hull, Michael Murray, Schedin, Urda, Hannah Waris and Jeremy Wisbey.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.