Class of 2022 is ready for a new ride

Speaking at Coginchaug Regional High School’s commencement, Class of 2022 valedictorian Gage Rovelli shared a story from sophomore year. He recalled receiving some confusing news from his friend Jaden Astle in the band room. “He said that we have two weeks off of school because of COVID,” Rovelli said. “I remember thinking, oh sick, two-week break … but what’s COVID?”

While COVID restrictions would rob the Class of 2022 of some typical high school experiences, the senior class persevered.

And on Friday, June 17, 108 CRHS students collected their diplomas.

Looking back on the past 12 years, Rovelli said “as everyone here knows, that time passed in the blink of an eye. The thing that I find strange is that when I think about all the memories I have made over the years, they all feel like they just happened yesterday.”

Rovelli ended his speech by thanking the family members, teachers, coaches and others who supported the graduates. “You gave us your knowledge, your time, your love, and you gave us little pieces of yourself that truly made us into the people we are today,” he said.

In her commencement address, class salutatorian Ava Dell’Orfano said, growing up, she remembers seeing people on TV and in movies giving speeches at graduation.

“I always thought, wow, that’s so cool. I wanna do that,” she said. “Yet, I also expected that, if I actually achieved the honor, I would’ve unlocked some sort of secret knowledge from then to now that would give me wisdom to then give to you.

“Alas, that did not happen, I just schooled well, and I was handed a microphone.”

Dell’Orfano indicated that growing up brings wisdom, not secret knowledge.

“It is the same knowledge that my kindergarten teacher used to have the answer to every single question I could come up with,” she said. “It is the same knowledge that IT uses to make my Chromebook turn on when it decides not to function.”

Using a rollercoaster metaphor, Dell’Orfano said, “At this point, it doesn’t matter who is in the front of the car or who is in the back of the car because we’re all riding the same ride at the same time.

“Our parents and teachers rode it before us, and their parents and teachers rode it before them, and — newsflash — that first drop got them, too.”


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