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Hartford Public Law And Government Academy Graduates 90


June 13, 2013

HARTFORD—— "Rain or shine, this is a day unlike any other," said Hartford Public Law and Government Academy Salutatorian Shaynian Gilling as she addressed the high school auditorium at Thursday evening's graduation ceremony.

Family, friends and guests braved the stormy weather to support their graduates, filling the aisles of the auditorium and cheering loudly as they spotted loved ones. The entire class sat on stage and joyously sang the national anthem and school song.

The path to graduation has not been easy for all of LGA's 90 graduates. Many blinked back tears during their processional walk. Before the ceremony, Zahira Dullany, 17, expressed her pride at graduating on time as a teen mother, after missing the end of her junior year and having to struggle to recover her credits.

"I'm doing this for my son!" she exclaimed. Dullany plans to study criminal justice at Goodwin College this fall and then head to Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., in January. Her 1-year-old son, Zayden, will join her.

"I want to become a lawyer so I can help families like mine," she said.

Joshua Dixon, 18, said he was particularly grateful to "Ms. Smith" — special education teacher Barbara Smith — for encouraging him to stay in school when he came close to dropping out. He will enter the U.S. Army Reserve next year with hopes to become a military police officer.

An inspiration to his entire class, Daylon Ore, 19, is headed to Albertus Magnus College in New Haven to play basketball. Wounded in a drive-by shooting on Mother's Day 2011, Ore underwent a follow-up surgery on his abdomen three weeks ago. He said he hopes to become a special education teacher.

"Our experiences are not all identical," said Valedictorian Winifer Rosario. "What one word would sum up your high school experience? Mine would be awesome."

The rambunctious cheers and smiles of the graduates and their families made it clear they heartily agreed.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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