New London - Senior Class Speaker Jack Haronian thanked his fellow classmates for being good friends and accepting his personal oddities, as he congratulated them during The Williams School 120th Commencement Wednesday.
He was welcomed to the front of the stage with smiles and cheers from the 48 students, and they roared with laughter as he referred to past events that will become memories to cherish in the years to come.
"I'm never gonna dance again the way I danced with you, Class of 2011," he said. "You all have been the best friends I could have asked for, the most fun when I'm feeling a little crazy, and a true support in my times of need. You've shaped me to become who I am today."
Sitting in neat rows on the stage of Connecticut College's Palmer Auditorium, the Class of 2011 looked excited, yet composed, as they listened to their elected speaker. The young men had donned suit jackets with red roses pinned to their lapels, while the women wore classic white dresses.
The class sang "All Star" by Smash Mouth as the senior song, the words - "Hey. now, you're an all star!" - ricocheting in the auditorium and showcasing not only the students' musical talents but also immense spirit and unity.
Head of School Mark Fader stressed to the seniors this sense of unity, that they will always belong, a message The Williams School strives to promote as tradition. From this, Fader said, stems the importance of giving back, especially to the community. He thus congratulated the seniors for founding the first peer tutoring program at the school, establishing a tradition, he said, that will continue.
"The peer-tutoring group has started with your class, and you've now created a real sense of academic support for students in our lower grades," he said.
History teacher William Furgueson said he fought his fear of public speaking during Wednesday's commencement speech, as he thanked the influential people throughout his childhood for inspiring and helping him to become the man he is today.
Furgueson, whom the class selected to speak, urged the seniors not to take the next steps of their lives alone and to "sponge" from the adults and people around them, just as he has.
"No one becomes great on their own; people become successful because they surround themselves with great people," he said.
With hopes to inspire, Furgueson encouraged the graduates to learn from others in order to accomplish something great in life, even monumental.
"Open your eyes to those in your life now, and those that will be in your life in the future, and start carving your own Mount Rushmore," he said.
Emily Jessica Benson, Hilary Michelle Bokoff, Sarah Hotchkiss Bradford, Alice K. Bradley, Jeffrey Bachelder Brodie, Ryan William Cairns, Lee Austin Cattanach, Adam Anthony Cibarich, Michael Alexander Ciulla, Daniel A. Coffey, Catherine H. Cook, John Trowbridge Cottrell IIII, William G. Davidge, Isacc A. Davis, Michelle Cyr Devoe, Benjamin Warner Dorr, Hadley Warm Eichengreen, Spencer Thomas Esty, Katharine Redmond Evans, David Benjamin Gibson, Alicia Rose Goncalves, Duncan Finley McNaughton Grimm, Anton Gudz, Jackson Andrew Hallberg, Howard John Haronian, John Peter Harsh, Connor D. Hilton, Heather Holmes, Paul-Leon Isaiah Hunter, Adam Iglehart, Trevor D. Klee, Emily Marie Malcynsky, Emily Garretson Maroni, George Carey Matthiessen II, Matthew Lee Mooers, Claire Juliet Nelson, Grace Rae Elen E. Nepomuceno, Daniel Putnam Nickerson, Ana Mariah Schavoir, William N. Simon, Zakiya Amenn Thomas-Keyton, Katelyn Tyler, Olivia-Jane Mather Ureles, Rachel Elizabeth vanDyke, Frederik Adriaan Austin Haven Prins van Eck, Veronica LynnVesnaver, Brooke Catherine Watson, Spencer Lucas Whitelaw, Cody Max Moffett Williams.