Shelton graduates urged to pursue their passion, believe in themselves

Close to 400 Shelton students received their diplomas on Thursday evening during the 2013 graduation ceremony at Shelton High School. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

They were cheered on by hundreds of supporters, including family members, friends and school staff members.

Weather conditions for the outdoor ceremony at the SHS football field were ideal, with 385 students receiving diplomas.

Valedictorian Kristen Anne Grabarz said while her SHS math class was stumped with how to best define the meaning of the color orange, she’s certain the color has been ingrained in her fellow graduates during their four years at the high school.

“I hope you’ll carry a little bit of orange wherever your paths may lead,” she said in a reference to one of the school colors.

Grabarz said she and her classmates had survived Storm Nemo’s snow, Superstorm Sandy’s wind and rain, and predictions the world would come to end in 2012 based on the ancient Mayan calendar.

“But guess what — we made it,” she said.

Grabarz urged her classmates to find their niche and their passion in life. “It is passion that will carry you on to success,” she said.

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Believe in yourself

Salutatorian Joseph Jacob Stein said it’s important for his classmates to believe in themselves, noting it took him a few years to truly appreciate an elementary school teacher who had her students write “Believe in Yourself” on their papers.

“It’s amazing to see what can be done when people believe in themselves,” he said.

Class President Tyler John Tice said his mother told him when he was young that youngsters had wings only a mother could see, and they would grow with each challenge that was overcome.

“Our wings have blossomed these last four years,” he said.

Senior class essayist Carolyn Virginia Rennie focused on how class members have matured since walking into the doors of SHS “as terrified, naive freshmen” four years earlier.

She said they have changed in much the same way they will need to adapt to become successful adults.

“We have learned the tough lesson — life cannot stay the same forever,” Rennie said.