Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford Courant News Articles >

Sorrow, Joy At City Graduations

Bulkeley, Classical Students Remember Departed Peers

June 26, 2005
By ASHLEY L. BATTLE, Courant Staff Writer

The senior class at Bulkeley High School had a lot to overcome this year. Two Bulkeley students suffered unexpected, nonviolent deaths - William Ward in September and Christopher Barry in January.

"When he left that morning, he didn't say anything about not feeling well," said Barry's father, Peter. "He looked fine."

Barry's father and mother, Sandra, were presented with a maroon cap and gown Saturday at the graduation ceremonies in Welte Auditorium at Central Connecticut State University. The Barrys were also presented with the school's first Superintendent's Leadership Award in honor of their son. The school plans to present the award every year to a graduating senior in memory of Barry.

"One of the things Chris taught me was that you're never too old to give a hug or a kiss," Peter Barry said. "The last thing he said to me that morning was `I love you, Dad.' The last thing he told his mother was `I love you, Mom.' Tell your parents you love them. Give them a hug," said Peter, after receiving a standing ovation in honor of his son.

Cierra Perez, daughter of Mayor Eddie Perez, was presented with flowers from her father, who handed her diploma to her.

Principal Miriam Morales-Taylor told the graduating class, "Urge yourself to set goals and work hard to secure yourself."

Superintendent Robert Henry said that graduating showed the world that "you have brains and ability." Of the 262 graduates, 82 percent are college-bound. The rest are joining the armed forces or attending vocational schools. The senior class also won more than $1 million in scholarships and prizes and more Mass Mutual awards than any other school in Hartford.

Mayor Perez told the graduates to "get up with a little more energy and strength" if they ever fall down.

Valedictorian Kledia Myrtolli thanked the parents and teachers on behalf of the class, and salutatorian Emmaris Soto urged her classmates to not dwell in the past, but to learn from it.

Keynote speaker Jeffrey Dressler told the graduates to focus on their abilities, not their inabilities. After detailing the injuries he sustained in a car accident while in school in Puerto Rico, he told the graduates that he left the hospital against doctor's orders so he could attend school.

"Even though I was a passenger in that car, I took responsibility," he said.

Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School

In ceremonies at Hartford City Hall Saturday evening, 20 seniors dressed in white and black gowns graduated from the Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School.

"It's a time for celebration, but it's also a day of sorrow," said valedictorian Visar Ajeti. "Stay focused even when the going gets tough."

Senior Hugh Fraser opened the ceremony by asking for a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives in Iraq, as well as those such as Hartford Public High School student Derek R. Benford Jr. who lost their lives to violence in Hartford.

It was the first graduation for the school since it opened its doors on Woodland Street. The magnet program was previously part of Hartford Public.

"You have helped lead by example, by taking a risk," Principal Tim Sullivan said. The students had to decide whether they wanted to leave Hartford Public behind and finish their high school education elsewhere.

"I didn't think I had the capacity to make it this high, but I was wrong. Classical taught me that I did," said salutatorian Kelly Sifuentes.

John Motley, the board of education's executive director for external affairs, spoke on behalf of the superintendent of schools, telling the graduates to "keep your eye on the ball, aim high and keep going forward."

A list of graduates will be published Monday.

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 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?