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Years at NFA allow grads to find their 'personal identities'

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published June 19. 2010 4:00AM   Updated June 19. 2010 9:11PM
Dana Jensen/The Day
Michelle Humphrey of Norwich shakes hands with teacher Jay Driscoll Friday during the processional of the Norwich Free Academy graduation ceremony.

Norwich - Class speaker Hunter Kodama likened the Class of 2010's quick tenure at Norwich Free Academy to the cloudburst rainstorm he experienced on his way home a week ago.

The sky was bright and clear when he started home, but five minutes later, the skies opened up.

The brief but tumultuous storm engulfed him, cleaned his dirty car, and then moved on, revealing the clear sky once again. At first it seemed the storm wouldn't end - as it was with exams and final research papers being due - but by the time he turned into his driveway, the sun was shining.

"NFA has been that cleansing rainstorm," Kodama said, "washing away our dirty covering and exposing each of our own personal identities and unique beauty therein."

No one had to worry about rain clouds Friday, as the 546 members of the Class of 2010 graduated on the athletic field. Crowds surrounding the track fence clamored for the pockets of shade provided by campus buildings and the few ornamental trees on the perimeter. Whole families preferred that shade to a closer look in the hot sun, sending someone forward to catch the names before emerging for photos or cheers.

Joseph Lee, father of graduate Jeremiah Lee, stayed in the sun for the great spot he found to see his son approach the podium. Dad and uncle Ronnie Howard had their cameras ready when Jeremiah unknowingly nearly messed up their plans.

"He's dancing!" Howard yelled. "Stop dancing so we can get the picture!"

As officials read the final 100 names of graduates, cheers erupted as a small plane passed overhead with a banner trailing: "Congratulations Melissa & Tom. Class of 2010."

Ivy Orator Terell Wilson started the celebration off with a speech that called for audience participation. Three times, Wilson urged fellow graduates to turn to the side and say "Neighbor, I made it!"

Wilson didn't gloss over the struggles his particular class faced, but said those challenges made him and his classmates stronger. It was Aug. 19, 2007, when popular classmate Larry Pontbriant died suddenly of cardiac arrest. Rather than become consumed by the grief, the class rallied, took their cause to Hartford and got a new state law to place automated external defibrillators in schools and parks.

"We took a tragic event and turned it into a success story," Wilson said.

Later during Friday's ceremony, the Class of 2010 donated $2,500 to NFA's new plan to create a cardiac fitness center.

c.bessette@theday.com

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THE GRADUATES

Aksa Ahmed, Iqra Ahmed, Anneli Rose Allard, Lauren Margaret Allard, Nicole Marie Andersen, Elijah Tevön Anderson, Christopher Antoine, Alix Antoine, Jr., Chelsea Morgan Armstrong, Alexina Nicole Aron, Brittany Ann-Marie Artale, Terry Layton Atkinson, Kelley Leeann Austin, Sean Michael Austin, Julia Pilar Avalos, Kimberly Marie Avery, Cassie Dawn Babcock, Sarah Christine Babcock, Alyssa Katherine Badorek, Angel Marie Baker, Jarica Kathryn Banning, Jessica Sanders Banning, Katelyn Jeanne Banta, Vasilika Banushi, Alexandra Palma Barber, Kelli Tanner Barbone, Rachel Ann Barile, James Elliott Barnes, Gillian Virginia Baron, Marilu Sofia Barrientos, Miguel Angel Barrientos, Marlice Silva Barros, Evelise Dayse Barros Correia, Michael Christopher Barrows, Jasmine Jade Barss, Andrew Bruce Beatty, Danielle Marie Beauregard, Kylie Elizabeth Becker, Ashley Rose Bedard, Queeny Chalsy Belfort, Dylan William Belli, Ashley Benoit, Stephanie Michelle Benoit, Brian Andrew Berglund, Sage Allison Bierman, Michelle Lee Billips, Eric James Blackburn, Annelise Blanchette, Kate Marie Borodezt, Nicholas Taylor Bosse, Myles Joseph Boulanger, Samantha Lauren Bourbeau, Adjana Bouzi, Adjanu Bouzi, Amy Lynn Bowen, Allyson Muriel Bozsum, Alia Nicole Bradley, Taylor Elizabeth Brandon, Tyler Alexander Breault, Isabel Rae Brokaw, Jared Paul Brooks, Symone Ajahlon Bundy, Trevor Jamel Bundy, Stephanie Leigh Burke, Justin Michael Burrows, Michael Bradberry Byars, Jr., Zhiyuan Cai, Steven Michael Calitri, Michele Eve Camillucci, Jasmine Ann Candelario, Elizabeth Capellan, Sheila Capellan, Ashley Jean Cappello, Christopher Glenn Carberry, Steven Joseph Cardin, Matthew Neal Carlebach, Tanner Allen Carr, Brittany Lynne Casillas, Julissa Gisel Castillo, Matthew Ryan Cates, Veronica Ellen Cedrone, Lindsay Celestin, Vijay Rodrigues Centeio, Roxanne Elizabeth Cernusca, Carina Chadic, Kristina Ellen Chapman, Felicia Elizabeth Chase, Christopher Wyman Chen, Connie Yuwah Chen, Hannah Miriam Cherian, Donal Cheung, Wendy Chin, Brittany Anne Chinigo, Bryce Leigh Chornoby, Stephanie Marie Church, Kirsten Christiana Ada Church-Fauquet, Kristen Elizabeth Church-Reed, Ara Christine Estrella Clark, Jennifer Annmarie Clark, Alexandra Lynn Clarke, Jonathan Claudio-O'Neill, Melissa Marie Clavette, Conor Lane Clendennin, Justin Matthew Cline, Melissa Nicole Clinton, Grace Ruth Coco, Joshua Daniel Cogoli, Kara Ann Cohn, Colleen Catherine Coleman, Stacey Rebecca Collins, Daniel Edmond Conde, Brandon Scott Constant, Brenda Lynn Constantine, Michael Ben Contreras, John Francis Conway IV, Hillary Paige Coombs, Courtney Alice Corcoran, Rebecca Helena Cornelius, Shannah Violet Cotton, Garrett Michael Courter, Heath Everett Couture, Jolene Royal Cox, Danny Antonio Crespo, Lewis Wayne Crosse, Nicole Cruz, Orlando Jose Cruz, Janelle Patricia Daly, Liam Darragh, Jerry Dauphin, Cassie Lee Davis, Chelsea Saunders DeLia, David Perry DeLong, Schuyler Wade DeLuca, Domingos Vaz DePina, Jr., Chelsea Lynn DePolito, Nicholas Paul Depolito, Rhett Vernon Devore, Rebecca Lynn Deweese, Kevin Thomas DiCarlo, Casey Arthur Dierman, Madeline Rae DiStasio, Benjamin Patrick Dixe, Derek Allen Dixon, Jasmine Dominique Dixon, Katie Eileen Dixon, Matthew Francis Donahue, Shane Zeboriah Donahue, Nicholas Joseph Donner, Michelle Theresa Dougherty, Amanda Elizabeth Doughty, Meaghan Kristine Doyle, Sage Marie Driggers, Damaris Marie Duarte, Molly Jillian Dubois, Emily Anne Dubord, Chelsea Christina Dubreuil, Mariah Christine Dugan, Bryce Alexander Dumas, Zachary Wayne Dziengiel, Sarah Elizabeth Eagan, James Anthony Earl, Juanita Marlene Edwards, Justice Rene Ellies, Keshon Davon Elliott, Brittany Marie Emma, Berthe Louse Dina Erie, Jennifer Rae Escobido, Shaimelie Estrada, Lord John Baylon Estrella, Jael Rafael Estrella-Matos, Chelsea Rae Evans, Kastine Erika Evans, Cassie Lynn Evanuk, Matthew Gerard Exley, Keith Wayne Ezell, Gillian Mary Farrell, Kristine Elizabeth Ferendo, Jeffrey Mark Ferguson, Justin Thomas Fernandez, Lucienne Giovanna Fernandez, Joshua William Fish, Alyssa Leigh Fisher, LouAna Michelle Fisher, Hayley Alexis Fitch, Angel David Flores, Keren Judith Flores, Keegan Andrew Flory, Devin Michael Flowers, Matthieu Benoit Fontaine, Carleigh Jean Fox, Giulianna Mia Franchetti, Hophnie Francois, Dayna Marie Frazer, Rebecca Ashley Friedman, Francesca Gia Fusaro, Adam James Gada, Tenisha Marie Gagne, Natasha Nicole Gambrell, Marisa Garcia, Kevin James Gardner, Nicholas James Gartley, Bryan Stephen Gaska, Jessica Marie Gates, Scott Joseph Gates, Deanna Nicole Gauthier, Alexander William Generous, Joseph Anthony Gennaro, Kristin Marie Giambattista, Matthew Richard Giannelli, Sarah Elaine Gionet, Adam James Girard, Benjamin Thomas Golart, Edwardo De Jesus Gonzalez, Kaitlyn Elizabeth Gooslin, Ashley Marie Goulart, Allison Naomi Gould, Courtney Irene Grab, Matthew Burke Grabarek, Victoria Marjorie Grant, Allison Katherine Green, Daren Matthew Greenaway, Noah Raymond Griffin, Garrett Lantz Gruber, Silvana Guzman, Robert Yerendi Guzman Lopez, Dahiana Altagracia Guzman-Urena, Amber Rose Gwiazdowski, William Thomas Gwiazdowski, Rose Joyce Haddad, Christian Rolf Hammon, Tyler Kenneth Hanes, Alyssa Jean Harrington, Marissa Dahn Hasbargen, Rashedul Haydar, Qi Qi He, Holly Marie Heath, Mariah Lynne Herrera, Adam Jacob Herz, Jeffrey Albrecht Hessler, Chelsea Rae Hitchings, Kelly Anne Hodge, Brandi Elyse Hodges, Rachael Nicole Horn, Amarah LaTia Howard, Brock Nolan Howe, Corey James Howe, Shanna Susan Hu, Sandy Fong Huang, Alexander William Hull, Michelle Elizabeth Humphrey, Cassondra Emily Hunter, Victoria Lynn Hutnan, Matthew Jake Hynds, Ashley Ann Isaacson, Kayla Marie Izbicki, Roudi M. Jabbour, Hilary Rose Jacobson, Dane Michael Jancewicz, Kané Devon Jarmon, Athena Camille Jaskiewicz, Albertha Jean, Stephanie Jeanty, Catherine Spalt Jenkins, Latisha Marie Jicha, Brianna Marie Johnson, Jordan Kenneth Johnson, Lauren Michelle Johnson, Daniel John Jones, Molly Anne Kalla, Dhrumil Jay Kansara, Maegan Marie Keeley, Erin Elizabeth Kelly, Owen Matthew Killeen, Alexander Jamison King, Sara Brittany Klauer, Ryan Christopher Kloss, Margit Anne Kneser, Amanda Marie Knight, Isabel Alejandra Knowles, Hunter Craig Kodama, Scott Michael Kompare, Victoria Lynn Kornosewicz, Joseph Michael Kortfelt, Yumi Kovic, Jennifer Hailey Kudlach, Kellie Maureen Labrecque, Chelsea Nicole LaChapelle, Danielle Marie Ladd, Samantha Morgan Ladouceur, Travis Lawrence Laflamme, Jennifer Lynn LaMarque, Mellissa Marie LaParre, Shauna Marie LaPorte, Hannah Sage Melick Laureano, Chris Joseph Lavallee, Matthew Brennan Lavallee, Thuan Minh Le, Heather Nicole Leask, Corinne Elizabeth Lee, Jeremiah Joseph Lee, Nathanael Jose Lee, Josiah Brendan LePage, Michael Jesse LePage, Ryan Benjamin Lester, Mackenzie Lyn Letson, Nichole Catherine Levander, Marisa Kathryn Lewon, Xiabin Li, Jeff Warren Lindquist, Margaret LaVonne Linn, Christopher Adam Livingston, Patrick Michael Long, Stephanie Ann Long, Ademir Rodrigues Lopes, Sueliza Depina Lopes-Barros, Melissa Lopez, Lucia Alejandra Lorenzo Patricio, Michael Kopeland Lorinsky, Renald Louigene, Colleen Elizabeth Lounsbury, Jianhao Lu, Simon Ly, Nicholas Alexander MacAdie, Mae Eden MacBride, Jesse Rae MacDonald, Kaila Susanne Madera, Frankie Alexandra Maderia, Jocelyn Marie Mahoney-Balestracci, Theresa Eileen Mailhot, Victoria Elaine Malave, Francesca Ann Malerba, Chelsea Leigh Mallon, Marissa Lynn Malouf, Cassandra Lynn Marion, Kayleigh Jordyn Marler, Gina Marie Marshall, Angela Krystal Renee Martin, Rebekah Jean Martin, Taylor Elise Martinez, Itzamar Martinez Santiago, Jordan Alan Maynard, Kaylee Lynn McDonald, JeQuam Tyshawn McGhee, Matthew Montana McIntosh, Fallon Elizabeth McIvor, Gray Louise McKinley, Madison Leigh McNally, Ashlynn Jean McQuilkin, Jocelyn Gabriela Mejia Iraheta, Meghan Ann Messier, Kimberly Lynn Miller, Regan Westfall Miner, Thomas John Miner, Taurie Mae Mirante, Adam Zachary Mocek, Victoria Elizabeth Moebus, Felinda Geraldine Montañez, Claudia Elisandra Monteiro, Christopher Angus Montgomery, Alyssa Mae Moody, Megan Elizabeth Moore, Meaghan Moran, Shalyn Kathleen Moran, Shawn Douglas Morello, Leila Lorenz Mrakovcich, Krysten Rae Nadeau, Mary Anna Navarro, Thomas Richard Nickerson, Bridget West Norman, Brittany Anne Noyes, Molly Claire Nystrom, Kathleen Shannon O'Brien, Ryan Patrick O'Connor, Mackenzie Lauren Olsen, Carlos Oñate, Patrick John O'Rourke, Joseph Patrick O'Shea, Jennifer Lynn Ouimet, Brittni Morgan Palardy, Caitlin Jeanne Papineau, Laura Mary-Rose Parr, Angelica Judith Pasqualini, Matthew Ryan Peeples, Gina Lee Peltier, Jahmaal Perez, Joshua Jesus Perez, Margaret Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Robert Perras, Bryan Michael Perrino, Jose Manuel Perrotta Jimenez, Jenna Rochelle Philipp, Benjamin Robert Piacenza, Jr., Liza Priscilla Pickens, Kaylan Marie Pickford, Joseph Eric Piezzo, Daren Alejandro Polanco, Kaitlynn Suzanne Portofee, Darius Jordan Preston, Constantina Anastasia Provatas, Nathan Peter Przekop, Wade Adam Quattromani, Jr., Christopher Sean Quigley, Efrain Tito Quiles, Trevor Leland Rak, Janisse Marie Ramirez, Marcus Anthony Ransom, Stefan Michael Rapson, Kaitlyn Marie Renaudette, Matthew Alfred Restivo, Samantha Whitney Reynolds, Jessica Lynn Richardson, Jomar Alexis Rios Zelaya, Nicholas Thomas Ritacco, Demetrius Rancheara Ritchens, Johnathan James Riter, Yilkania Rivera Cruz, Lauren Alyssa Roberts, Eugenio Antone Rodrigues, Alexis Kathleen Rodriguez, Amarilys Melva Rodriguez, Jesus Alberto Rodriguez, Stephen Kyle-Sisson Rogers, Katherine Michele Rose, Jasmine Lyzette Rovira, Tess Catherine Rubega, Holley Christine Rubelmann, Marissa Ruiz, Mardochee Saint Phard, Frank Alexis Salazar Olmedo, Emily Sanborn, Ryan West Sanders, Natalia Marie Santana, Kevin Kirk Saythany, Kathryn Kimberly Schaen, Matthew Forrest Schnepp, Kaitlin Lawlor Schock, Samantha Marie Schoepfer, Ashley Inez Sebastian, Lisa Michelle Seidel, Zachary Eugene Semmelrock, Zachary Taylor Sheffield, Jordan Alexander Shelby, Lindsay Taylor Shelto, Megan Ann Sherrick, Steven Ray Shibilo, Fanny Shien, Bryan Sierra, Joshua Donohue Simmonds, Daniel James Simoneau, Briana Elizabeth Simons, Sean Andrew Skinner, Jesse Evan Slater, Paige Victoria Smigiel, David Alejandro Smith, Deron Lee Smith, Maxwell Holman Smith, Kathryn June Smolen, Danielle Nycole Smullen, Melissa Billings Solomon, Bianca Elizabeth Speedwell, Joseph John Spinney, Ivery Rochelle Stakley, Krista Marie Stankiewicz, Brent Patrick Stanton, Daniel Andrew Stevens, Dane Morgan Stewart, Ashley Michelle Stowe, Luisa Stranges-Curcio, Misty Marie Strickland, Matthew Wayne Stultz II, Louis John Sullivan, Mark David Sullivan, Papatson Suphavai, Rachelle Nicole Swafford, Eric Donald Swanson, Carl Sun Tang, Jillian Louise Tarbox, Allison Dawn Tarvin, Jose Maria Tavares, Maria Jose Tavares, Heather Ann Tedford, Kurt Russell Tetreault, Rajiv Burrell Thomas, Austin James Thompson, Davon Tyrell Thompson, Elizer Castro Tolentino, Sebastian Robert Tonewo, Gunnar Karl Tonnesen, Michael Joel Torres Rodriguez, Patrick Steven Trahan, Maura Ann Tramontozzi, Mylinh Souvilay Truong, Margaret Catherine Tucker, Umit Yavuz Ulusoy, Justin James Urian, Nolan Richard Vachon, Ivan Andres Vargas, Omar Arturo Vargas, Yobany Chanelle Vargas, Arianna Nirka Velez, Yohanan Saul Ventura Estevez, Stephen Granger Ververis, Haley Lynn Vessey, Piterson Vital, Alyssa Marie Walker, Jenel Earline Walker, Charlotte Anne Ward, Matthew William Warzecha, Alexandra Marie Washburn, Alexandra Elizabeth Weeman, Bayley Hannah Weese, Rebecca Anne Weir, Samantha Nicole Welch, Tyler Elizabeth Welch, Matthew Brandon Wells, Johnny Hua Wen, Amy Jean Wetherby, Stephen Henry White, Tyler Anthony Wiencek, Cassandra Elizabeth Wilcox, Catherine Rene Williams, Burgess Craig Willis, Derell Quent Wilson, Terell Trent Wilson, Aleandra Veronica Wittenski, Susan Mae Wojtcuk, Qing Wai Wong, Andrew James Wood, James Douglas Woodhall, Taylor Matthew Woodmansee, Colleen Emily Woodward, Ashley Lauren Workman, Bianca Renay Wyatt, Garfield Ye, Zachary Lowell Yeager, James Yee, Alexander James Yerkes, Jason Kwok Bo Yew, Max Peter Zachem, Sophie Laurenia Zander, Dai Yu Zhan, Lai Wah Zhen.

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