By Diane Church
PLAINVILLE -- Searing heat didn’t keep the 193 members of Plainville High School’s Class of 2012 from receiving their diplomas Wednesday night. Nor did it keep hundreds of their friends and family from attending the outdoor graduation ceremony.
Two ambulances were on standby and many people carried bottles of water or cold drinks along with bouquets of flowers for graduates. Gatorade tankards were filled with water for thirsty attendees.
Only one speaker, however, made reference to the weather.
“Last year we had an earthquake, then a hurricane and then Storm Alfred, which turned our school into an emergency shelter for a week,” said Steven LePage, PHS principal. “Now here we are in record heat for your graduation.”
LePage has been principal for two years. He shared some advice about the troubles and setbacks that the new graduates will surely encounter at some point in their lives.�
“The greatest growth comes from overcoming adversity and reflecting on success,” he said. “Obstacles on the path of life are opportunities for growth. If something doesn’t end you, it will improve you.”
Katherine Willard, the class salutatorian, told her fellow graduates to appreciate the memories of the fun they had, but not to live in the past.
”Now is the time to make new memories that we can share at our 10-year reunion,” she said. “Tomorrow, a new senior class will take over. Take the summer to look back but also look forward.”
Board of Education member Barbara Willard, Katherine’s mother, remembered going with her husband and daughter to China 18 years ago to adopt Katherine.
“Some things are meant to be,” she said in her speech on behalf of the board. “Use your head, but follow your heart and most of all, dream big.”
Valedictorian Alexis Rodriguez gave the final speech before diplomas were presented.
“We’re worried about losing our friends,” she said. “We want to hold onto the feelings. But change is the law of life. Our friendships made us what we are today. As we go off on our own adventures. It’s important to use what we learned at Plainville High School. The future is in our hands.”
Diane Church can be reached at (860) 584-0501, ext. 7250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org