June 13, 2008
Miguel Vazquez began writing his valedictory speech before he knew he was going to be the top student in his class.
Steven Dellinger-Pate, Pathways to Technology Magnet School principal, said this exemplified Vazquez's determination, rather than being presumptuous.
Vazquez, who will be attending Babson College on a full scholarship, urged his classmates to think of the impossible, because without it, the future has no hope.
"I see the next Bill Gates, the next Oprah Winfrey sitting in this class," Vazquez said. "If we all think of the impossible, our generation will achieve great things."
Vazquez said he isn't worried about global warming, because he is sure his generation will save the planet by inventing what is unimaginable today.
During the commencement ceremony at the Learning Corridor in Hartford, students laughed at a slide show that featured skits, candid video and photos.
From eating ants in China to memories of their teachers, the 67 seniors wanted to make sure nothing was forgotten.
Memories of their classmate Paul Lawrance, who died in 2006, were also shared as his family was presented with an honorary diploma.
Among those sharing memories was class President Denise Mitchell.
Mitchell's mother was crying in the audience as her daughter addressed the class.
"All I want to do is make her proud," Mitchell said of her single mother of two.
"I'm so proud," Mitchell's mother yelled.
Although memories were shared, the students recognized that life goes on. Ninety-nine percent of the class will be going on to post-secondary education.
The Pathways class of 2008 included a UConn presidential scholar, salutatorian Khemchand Gajju.
Four students were given STAG awards from the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., which will provide them with a summer internship and four-year scholarships.
|Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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