LITCHFIELD — Friends and family gathered at Campbell High School Friday evening to watch 101 members of the Class of 2014 receive their diplomas.
In her salutatorian speech, Leah Stagnone urged her classmates to be proud of their accomplishments, but also realize that commencement ceremony is not an ending, but an exciting new beginning.
“Receiving a diploma does not mean you have finished learning,” Stagnone said. “It means you have been given the tool to start learning in a whole new way.”
She told them to follow their passions with self-respect and confidence and choose their own standards for measuring their success.
Guest speaker Michael Boutselis, a former Campbell High School graduate, current English teacher and advisor to the Class of 2014, said the diversity of the class — comprised of accomplished athletes, artists and academics — is what makes it unique. He advised the class to always seek their passion in life, cherish every moment, and continually find ways to learn and improve themselves.
Valedictorian Benjamin Billings said it was now up to each of them to make up their own minds and chase what they want to do with their futures.
Life will be easier and happier if they find their own truth and define their own success, he added.
“Choose to measure your own success and live up to your own expectations and no one else’s,” Billings said.
After the ceremony, graduates reunited with their families. Amanda Miller said she was looking forward to three months of freedom, before starting back at the bottom of the totem pole next fall as a student at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
Rachael Maurais was joined by her two brothers who also graduated from Campbell High School. She’s attending the University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, in the fall.
“I’m so excited to be done and to see all my classmates go on to their future endeavors,” Maurais said.