In Windsor, Rhyme and Reason Reigns
More Than Three Dozen Students Earn Diplomas
Terri Cardillo hugs her son Kyle Cardillo at the close of the Windsor High School graduation ceremony in Windsor, Vt., on June 13, 2014. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Salutatorian Ethan Hill gives a high-five to school staff member Laurie Brown before the start of the Windsor High School graduation ceremony in Windsor, Vt., on June 13, 2014. "I love you guys," Brown said, as the seniors began the processional. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
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Windsor — Social studies teacher Stanley Spencer stood before his students and their families and friends Friday evening and reminisced about all the things they had already done — from profane to profound — in their short high school careers.
Then he told the graduates at Windsor High School something he already knows they are going to do.
“Do something,” he said. “Do something real.”
He knows because they will do this because he, like class valedictorian Roger Barraby and salutatorian Ethan Hill, was able to recount with great detail and relish the impact each student has already had on the lives of the others.
Spencer remembered the “strange” freshmen boys and sometimes “vicious” freshman girls he encountered four years earlier as a new teacher in the school.
“When the doors closed to the classroom and I was the only remaining adult in the room it was a bit like being on TVs Wild Kingdom,” Spencer said. “But these once bizarre creatures have matured nicely to the point that I can now safely stand in front of them with my back turned.”
Barraby said his fellow classmates helped change him. So much so that he chose to spend the majority of his valedictory speech calling on each of his 40 fellow graduates sitting in the gym Friday night by name to recount what they had accomplished.
There were many who made him laugh, brightened his day, inspired him by finishing school even though it was hard, who shared inside jokes, hot chocolate and movies. Still more were his best friends he didn’t want to be without, prom dates and study partners. While others were people who encouraged him when he was down, supported him as leader, and simply offered understanding and tolerance.
“You allowed me to be myself,” he said, addressing Hill. “Even when I didn’t know quite what that was exactly.”
Hill, on the other hand, retold their years in rhyme, reminding them of fights already forgotten and the way they could come together as a class and a team. And he reminded them of how they all had experienced that first day of school, when their parents let them go, and learned how to navigate their school lives together.
“We haven’t had our best moments yet,” Hill said. “But those are some we can never forget.” Despite all the things these new graduates had accomplished, speakers knew it was time that they all were on their way to do even more.
“Like me, the more average among you are about to find out that a change of environment can get the fire started,” Spencer said. “You are about to discover what makes you shine brighter than the June sun off of Spencer’s head.”
With one swoop of a tassel, each graduate in his or her own way, agreed to relegate both the good and the bad of high school to the past and set sights on the future.
“There comes a moment when you’re just ready to leave,” Barraby said. “You’ve done all you can do and it’s time to move on. There’s a world to see, and life to live and for the first time we can choose how we live it.
“Are you guys ready?”
CLASS OF 2014
Roger Barraby, Franklin & Marshall College; Tyler Blanchard; Tyson Boudro; Kyle Cardillo, Vermont Technical College; Connor Collins, Weber State College; Jennifer Cowdrey, River Valley Community College; Colby Eastman, Mt. St. Joseph College; Ashlie French, Seton Hall University; Taylor Galgay, University of Maryland-Baltimore County; Andrew Goulet; Molly Hammond; Kelsey Hannah; Emily Herschel, CCVT/Vermont Tech; Ethan Hill, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Emaline Hilliker, U.S. Army; Kim Ip, University of New Hampshire; Dylan LaPlante; Mariah Marsh, UNH; Shawn Mason, Vermont Technical College/VT Air National Guard; Elizabeth McCabe, University of Maine at Farmington; Desiree McCarthy, CCVT; Annie Nelson, Millersville University; Kristen Nott; Nik Osborn, U.S. Air Force; Taylor Potwin, CCVT; Ben Perry, University of Vermont; Ezra Richardson, Keene State; Kyle Schaffer; Simon Shepherd; Quincey Smith, George Mason University; Hayden Stewart, Lyndon State College; Matthew Thayer, Norwich University; Nicole Vigneault; Ashley Williams, VTC; Nicholas Witty; Hudson Woodward; Tristan Wright, U.S. Air Force.