MSMHS Celebrates the Class of 2017

MSMHS Celebrates the Class of 2017
The Marine Science Magnet High School Class of 2017 had plenty to celebrate at its Commencement
ceremony held Tuesday, June 13, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Collectively, the 68 graduates earned about $2 million in scholarships, which will help them individually pay for the 34 different colleges
and universities. Such institutions include Brown University, The Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut
College, UConn, Boston University, and William and Mary.

As the graduates head toward their next endeavors, LEARN Executive Director Dr. Eileen Howley advised
them to heed a lesson she learned from her own father. As a college student, Howley recalled how she
was overwhelmed and wanted to come home, but her father refused to let her quit, telling her that “nothing worth anything comes easily.”

“Once you have that education, once you have that diploma, no one can take it away from you. You
will have it for a lifetime,” Howley said. LEARN operates MSMHS and several other magnet schools in the region.

Regardless of where they are headed, Principal Nicholas J. Spera encouraged the graduates to pursue their passions. “No matter what happens, happiness is the key to success, not money,” he said.

Four students spoke during Commencement. Valedictorian Bethany Arabic encouraged her classmates to persevere through all challenges, stating that the most successful people in the world made an impact by not being afraid to fail. “We must live in the moment and look to the future through
our windshields rather than our rear view mirrors,” Arabic said. “I encourage you to harness the power
of your potential, take action, and seize life’s opportunities.”

Salutatorian Sara Klimek spoke of her generation’s potential to “break down walls that were created by
centuries of disenfranchisement, intolerance, and indifference.” She said the school is a testament to
what can happen when bright young minds come together to transcend divides and be successful.

“Let these lessons in acceptance become fundamental to your continued growth as leaders,” Klimek said.

Student Council President Emily Powell emphasized the family atmosphere of MSMHS, giving credit to “school Dad” Spera for creating a challenging but supportive atmosphere that allows the students
to grow. “We really are one very, very big family,” she said.

Senior class President Skyler Pearse highlighted some of the impressive academic achievements of the school and creating new traditions.

“High school may be temporary, but our legacy is forever,” Pearse said. She also presented the Class of 2017 gift to the school – a “family room” at the school comfortably decorated to perpetuate the congenial
relationship that the students share with their teachers. Additionally, Pearse presented the Class Shield to the school.
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