Journal Inquirer

May 16, 2016

HARTFORD — Valedictorian Nurun Nahar encouraged 374 Manchester High School graduates at the Connecticut Convention Center on Wednesday to take chances, even if they may fail.


“Our true knowledge comes from the number of mistakes we have made and what we have learned from them,” Nahar said in her “16 sweet pieces of advice.”

“Don’t hesitate in fear of making a mistake.”


She also encouraged her peers to be thankful, value friendship, and to live a life of service.


The members of the Class of 2016 devoted over 1,600 hours to community service, officials said.


Over 80 percent of graduates will go on to post-secondary education, and a third of students have earned 1,500 college credits from Manchester Community College, Goodwin College, and the University of Connecticut.


“Thank you for your service to our community, and be sure to make volunteerism a part of your life, and give back to causes that are important to you, your community, and our country,” Christopher Pattacini, Board of Education chairman, told the graduates.


The Class of 2016 includes 36 MHS scholars, 78 honor students, and 51 National Honor Society members, Pattacini said.


A standing ovation followed Pattacini’s well wishes to 18 graduates who enlisted in the military.


John Tedesco, the 2015-16 teacher of the year, told graduates they have full ownership of their futures and their education has given them the resources to determine their path.


“Don’t look back on it because you’re not going back, only moving forward, but rather think about your choices on the next path of life,” Tedesco said.


While referencing Albert Einstein, Salutatorian Mika Glahn told graduates the best form of knowledge is experience, and their response is crucial.


“Consider what you really want and what it will take to get it,” Glahn said. “Set high goals for yourself and work toward them — piece by piece until you get there.”


Mayor Jay Moran asked graduates to accept others for their cultural differences in the wake of the recent massacre in an Orlando nightclub.


“Be kind to your neighbors, accept everyone for who they are, and lend a hand to those in need,” Moran said.


Before the presentation of diplomas, Principal Jill Krieger asked the audience to observe a moment of silence in memory of deceased students Justis Joy, Kiasha Holloway, and Malvrick Donkor. The graduates wore yellow ribbons in their memory.


Krieger said the Class of 2016 pushed her outside her comfort zone and had her dancing at pep rallies and lip-syncing videos — similar to what educators ask of students.


The graduates were always willing to take risks, she said, adding they supported an attempt at a Guinness World record and established the school’s Silk City Café.


“Thank you for being who you are, caring about one another, and caring about our community,” Krieger said. “Have fun, be safe, and make good decisions.”