With words of inspiration, humor Class of 2015 looks to the future

Trumbull High School Class of 2015 might have had their ceremony inside because of bad weather, but there was no raining on their parade.

Parents, friends and family crammed the gymnasium of Trumbull High School to hear graduating student’s speeches and ceremony.

Trumbull High School Class of 2015 students enlisted in the military were honored. Their names were announced by First Selectman Timothy Herbst. He read their names as each rose, and then the gym erupted in applause, as the students were honored with a standing ovation.

Justin Lynch, 2015 class valedictorian, encouraged his fellow classmates to step out of their comfort zones and to cope with different situations they may face.

Lynch reflected on his high school sports experiences. He said one of the most important things he learned in high school was to step out of his comfort zone. He told fellow students that he learned how to make the best of situations that might not be comfortable.

He encouraged graduating classmates to look at difficult situations as opportunities to excel and grow. He also encouraged them to follow their passion.

“Whether we’re going to college, or work, or joining the military, we are on the cusp of the next big step that will define an entirely new period of our lives,” Lynch said. “To this intimidating process, I say go. Whatever you want to do next, go out and do it. If you feel like driving out across the country, go. If you want to enlist in the Navy, go. If you want to attend the best school you can get into, go. But whatever it is that you do, make sure you follow your passion without a doubt in your mind.”

Dr. Gary Cialifi, superintendent of Trumbull Public Schools, reminded the graduating class of the benefits of graduating from a large school, the opportunities they had explored, and how their school days prepared them for more experiences.

“You have lived in a climate that over the past four years fostered a mindset to be confident, and be bold enough to try new activities, and take some risk and blossom in ways you never thought was possible four years ago,” Dr. Cialifi said.

The Trumbull High School graduating class was described by Principal Marc Guarino as having a traits beyond academic achievements.

“The Class of 2015 has a trait or virtue that’s not measured in a state test nor in any national ranking,” Guarino said.
Guarino’s speech was peppered with examples of students who best exemplified the trait of good character by how they treated others.

Deborah Herbst, chair of Trumbull Board of Education, also extolled the graduating class for their character of greatness. She told the class that she reflected on her 12 years on the Trumbull Board of Education and marveled at how far the school district has come in their accomplishments.

“All of you in your own unique and personal way have become the envy of the state,” Herbst said. “You have put Trumbull on the map, and I thank you for that.”

Despite their academic, artistic, and athletic accomplishments, Herbst told graduates to strive for balance in their lives by stepping away from social media, creating memories, and embracing human encounters.

Smiling at your best friend in the high school halls and that first bite of a chipotle burrito was one example Julia Provenzano, Class of 2015 salutatorian, used to describe love, as explained to her from a fellow classmate.

During Provenzano’s speech, she quoted from the movie Dead Poets Society. She said in the movie the character, Mr. John Keating, played by Robin Williams, suggested that the poetry students ask themselves, “What is it that I live for?” She said he suggested they find the answer in love, passion and beauty.

Provenzano said she and fellow students had begun to experience love, passion, and beauty throughout their time in Trumbull High School. She said the best example of love to her are her parents, whom she said “went above and beyond” raising triplets.
Provenzano shared with the audience what some fellow graduates told her beauty meant to them, and shared what beauty meant to her.

“Beauty is when you smile and take in the moment,” Julia said.

Provenzano told her fellow classmates that the world is out there waiting for them, and she acknowledge that all of them wanted to leave a mark. She told fellow graduates going forth to ask themselves, “What is it that I live for?”

“Find the very passion that keeps you alive, immerse yourself in love, and discover beauty in its most fundamental form,” she said.

First Selectman Tim Herbst told the graduating students that they were born the year he graduated from Trumbull High School.

Herbst poked fun at students’ tenacity to use Twitter to contact him about the change in the graduation ceremony, tweeting to him all afternoon to have the graduation outside. He gave a special tip of the hat to senior Seth Wittstein who tweeted to him, asking the first selectman to give him a “shoutout” during his speech.

The Trumbull High School Class of 2015 gave eloquent speeches. They encouraged each other to take risk, find passion and stay connected beyond Facebook. They were reminded of their compassion, competitiveness, and accomplishments, but mostly to be all they are and nothing less.

Frederick Tamarkin, 2015 class president, opened his speech reminding the students that when they started high school four years ago, their high school careers began with Hurricane Katrina not long after.

Despite starting high school with a hurricane and leaving in the rain, the Class of 2015 would have the wind at their backs as they encouraged each other to do great things. Tamarkin summed up the graduation moment of students moving on and moving forward, while staying confident in their life’s journey after high school.

“Never underestimate your ability to do something courageous, to say something inspirational, or to be someone influential,” he said, “Our impact on the world will be greater than Hurricane Irene. So regardless of where you end up in life, never let anyone tell you that you are any less significant or less powerful than a category five.”