Positivity outshines rain clouds at Housy graduation

Class President Finn Cousins addresses his classmates at graduation.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Positivity outshines rain clouds at Housy graduation

FALLS VILLAGE — The Class of 2024 at Housatonic Valley Regional High School had to have their Friday, June 14, graduation inside due to the threat of thunderstorms.

It was a little warm and stuffy in the gym, but that didn’t get in the way as the graduates cheered each other and the speakers.

Principal Ian Strever told the graduates, “Starting today, you begin to write the essay of your life.”

Region One Superintendent Lisa Carter kept it brief. Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted the Class of 2024’s first year of high school she said “You are strong, resilient and moving forward.”

Outgoing Superintendent Lisa Carter says farewell.Patrick L. Sullivan

Salutatorian Dana Saccardi also alluded to the pandemic, when the class was split into two “cohorts” and attended school in person just two days per week.

“This meant we only knew a handful of people and our faces were hidden.”

“But now we’re together.”

Saccardi concluded: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Principal Ian Strever looks toward the future.Patrick L. Sullivan

Class President Finn Cousins recalled his COVID-19 era “graduation” from Sharon Center School, which was done with families “driving in circles” around town because large group activities were out of the question.

He said the word “entitlement” can have a positive or negative connotation. Choosing the former, he said “We are entitled to celebrate and honor each other.”

Essayist Vernonca Bonett spoke of her concerns about climate change and urged the students to be active: “Be ready to advocate for more, not just for ourselves, but for the world as a whole.”

A cardboard cutout of Tara Djeladin, an exchange student from North Macedonia.Patrick L. Sullivan

Carolyn Corrado gave the commencement address. She had practical advice for the students, including:

“Actively practice gratitude.”

And “Be willing to fail - epically.”

Valedictorian Yaritza Vega spoke of her memories as part of an immigrant family and her introverted nature as a child.

She said her attitude changed when she received a scholarship. She was able “to channel the nervous energy into confidence.”

“If you succeed, be happy about it!”

Naomi Namayan Lesamana, exchange from Norway, speaks to her classmates at graduation.Patrick L. Sullivan


Good Sportsmanship Medal: Haley Leonard, Eason Zhang

Good Citizenship Medal: Anne Moran, Dana Saccardi

Chamberlain Arts Achievement Award: Sofia Brooks, Aron Ladanyi

Community Award of Merit: Nancy Hegy Martin

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