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Pomperaug Graduates Challenged to Chase Dreams, Overcome Obstacles

324 PHS students earn diplomas in Southbury Wednesday.

Editor's Note: Upload your photos to the Pomperaug High School 2012 Graduation photo gallery.

Whether the address was delivered by a member of the student council, the school administration or a high ranking U.S. official, the message conveyed to the Pomperaug High School 2012 graduating class was constant – chase your dreams and don’t let anything stand in your way.

Garbed in black gowns and surrounded by family and friends, 324 PHS students marched across the gymnasium stage to earn their diplomas Wednesday night in Southbury.

The graduates were treated to several inspirational words of wisdom on the bright futures and the unavoidable obstacles that await them once they exit the familiar doors of their newly acquired alma mater.

Region 15 Superintendent Dr. Frank Sippy quipped that he would like to provide pearls of wisdom for the graduating class, but, for those who didn’t know, it was awfully difficult to harvest pearls.

Sippy left the students with five thoughts to consider upon graduation: love your work, focus on your preparation, listen to others, take action, and never forget to laugh at yourself.

He said that though the road ahead is bright, detours will arise and students must be ready to maneuver around them.

“Mistakes come with the territory. So what, just do it,” said Sippy.

Valedictorian Elizabeth MacDonald echoed Sippy’s sentiments encouraging the graduating class to take problems in stride and never let them derail their objectives.

“We can all blaze a path through the world – we will hit roadblocks, but fight through them and achieve your goals.” said MacDonald. “Progress was never made without failure.”

Like the graduating class, Principal Lorrie Rodrigue came to Pomperaug four years ago and reflected on the first moments in the group’s high school journey. Rodrigue commended a class that had 97 percent proficiency in state tests, took 312 AP Exams, produced 31 All-State athletes, two state championships, and will send students to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation.

“You put in four years of hard work, dedication and commitment,” said Rodrigue. “You’ve changed from young freshman to confident individuals.”

As has been customary for the past several years, a brief video message from a public figure was delivered to the graduating class – this year’s speaker was Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. 

“You have an opportunity and a responsibility to pursue your dreams,” said Clinton. “But remember, wherever you go, you’ll always be a Panther.”

Co-Salutatorians, and twin brothers, Jim and Tom Mao fondly looked back upon the lessons learned and the knowledge gained in their four years spent inside the walls of PHS as the class of 2012 enters into the next stage of their lives.

“We will now head off to schools from UConn to the California coast,” said Mao. “But we all have marketable skills. I know we’re ready for it.”

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