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Newtown High's Class Of 2016 Celebrates Successes At Graduation

The Class of 2016 at Newtown High School holds its graduation ceremony at the O'Neill Center.
The Class of 2016 at Newtown High School holds its graduation ceremony at the O'Neill Center. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Sean MacMullan gives the salutatorian address at the Newtown High School graduation.
Sean MacMullan gives the salutatorian address at the Newtown High School graduation. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Lorrie Rodrigue, Newtown High School Principal, speaks at the graduation ceremony on Saturday.
Lorrie Rodrigue, Newtown High School Principal, speaks at the graduation ceremony on Saturday. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
The Class of 2016 settles in for the graduation ceremony.
The Class of 2016 settles in for the graduation ceremony. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Edward Obloj, a teacher at Newtown High School, speaks at the graduation on Saturday.
Edward Obloj, a teacher at Newtown High School, speaks at the graduation on Saturday. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Newtown High School celebrates its commencement exercises Saturday at the O'Neill Center.
Newtown High School celebrates its commencement exercises Saturday at the O'Neill Center. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Students and staff make their entrance for the Newtown High graduation.
Students and staff make their entrance for the Newtown High graduation. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
It's a sea of decorated mortarboards at the Newtown High graduation.
It's a sea of decorated mortarboards at the Newtown High graduation. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Every graduate gets a flower at the Newtown High School commencement.
Every graduate gets a flower at the Newtown High School commencement. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
The Class of 2016 from Newtown High begins to file into the O'Neill Center.
The Class of 2016 from Newtown High begins to file into the O'Neill Center. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
The members of the Class of 2016 line up at the Newtown High graduation.
The members of the Class of 2016 line up at the Newtown High graduation. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Over 400 members of the Class of 2016 from Newtown High School lined up Saturday morning and marched into the O’Neil Center to celebrate their big graduation day.

The faculty led the line of students into the center on the Westside campus of Western Connecticut State University, where they took their seats and were greeted by the familiar strains of “Pomp & Circumstance.”

The Chamber Choir, directed by Jane Matson, followed with the National Anthem.

Principal Lorrie Rodrigue addressed the students and the crowd of friends and family. “You decide what life you want. It starts with all that you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, experiences you’ve gained, and your persistence in discovering where you want to go and who you want to become,” she told the graduating class.

Rodrigue also expressed her pride in all the student successes in athletics, academics and public service.

For the musical interlude, the chamber choir sang “In My Life,” a classic Beatles song.

Samantha Dion delivered a message from the Class Council, and Sean MacMullan gave the salutatorian address.

Ted Kohler, president of the Newtown Scholarship Association, announced the many scholarships awarded to members of the graduating class. Kohler also noted that 54 students from the Class of 2016 will be awarded needed scholarships equaling about $110,000. In addition, the foundation will be awarding another $333,000 “in continuing aid to those attending college,” Kohler said.

Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. then spoke, encouraging the students to work hard during the summer before they go off to begin the next phase of their lives.

“Never forget to have fun,” Valedictorian Caelan Ritter told his classmates just before they were awarded their diplomas.

Another heartfelt speech came from Edward Obloj, a teacher at Newtown High. Obloj told how he began college as an engineering major, then at the last minute wanted to change to history. He explained that it wasn’t until the end his last school year that he was inspired to become a teacher.

Keith Alexander certified the Class of 2016 to receive their diplomas. Diplomas were passed out by Kelsey Miller, Kayla Kordish, Brandon Qiao, and Megan Schumacher. Once the diplomas were passed out, the members of the Class of 2016 were able to shift their tassels from right to left, indicating that they were all now officially graduates of Newtown High School.

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