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New Canaan High Grads Celebrate Each Other

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Expressing individuality while maintaining a sense of unity are two memorable traits of the members of the Class of 2011 at New Canaan High School.

The teens reached the end of their high school careers Tuesday, collecting their diplomas while celebrating each other and the parents and teachers who guided them.

Graduating senior Isabella Carrillo said her classmates came to New Canaan High School facing concerns about pushing the limits, but they leave as a group of accomplished students who help out where they can while sticking together.

“We’re individuals who will stop at nothing to follow their dreams,” Carrillo said. “Our class is not only full of character, but full of determination,” citing their social projects and tutoring work. “We stop at nothing, individually and together."

Cody Nader, 18, said simply that he “feels great” and is “very excited” to complete high school. He saluted his classmates for celebrating individuality while looking for solutions to problems, including their work to form the school’s anti-bullying policies. “It’s a great job by everyone,” said Nader, who will work as a camp counselor at the New Canaan Country Club this summer before heading to Northeastern University in the fall.

Fanise Soljour, 18, said the class is a close-knit group that cares about each other. They are also proud of outgoing Principal Tony Pavia, the guest speaker at his final New Canaan High graduation.

“We’re a class that accepts everyone for who they are,” said Soljour, who will join the Army Reserves and begin basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C., later this summer. “I’m going to miss my friends, the teachers, a lot of things.”

Soljour received congratulations from fellow graduates, but the loudest cheers came from Barry Woods and Patty Melchionno, Soljour’s counselors at the Domus Foundation , a nonprofit group that helps children and their families experience academic and life success. "It’s a new start for her,” Woods said. “We’re so proud of her. She’s proof that hard work pays off.”

For as cool as he looked in his sunglasses, Andrew Redman, 18, said donning a cap and gown and leaving high school was “surreal” and “bittersweet.”

“We’re heading off to bigger and better things, but we’re leaving a lot of great people behind."

Did you attend the New Canaan High graduation? What’s your favorite memory of the ceremony or your own graduation? Leave a comment below or our Facebook page.

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