FHUHS graduates 103
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | June 15,2013
Photo by Chelsea Wright
Fair Haven Union High School’s 103 members of the class of 2013 await their diplomas Friday evening.
Three graduates of Fair Haven Union High School dispensed wit and wisdom Friday.
Keynote speaker Chelsea Montello, the 2012 valedictorian, said she remembered so little of her speech from last year that she considered giving it again this year. What stopped her, she said, was how much she learned in her first year at Middlebury College.
“The funny part is, the most important things I took away from my freshman experience were not things I learned on my own,” she said. “They were pieces of advice shared with me.”
The first was that she was not in Orwell anymore.
“This is a small pond — a puddle, really,” she told the 103 graduates assembled in the school’s gymnasium. “College and the real world are much bigger, much more confusing, and much more punishing. ... Those challenges are what make them better.”
Other advice she was given and passed on included to “chill” about what she was facing, to prepare and have backup options, and to make yourself “vulnerable to opportunity.” She told the graduates they will face setbacks, but that loving what they do will pull them along.
Montello closed by saying college was hard, but that she could not wait to get back to it.
Salutatorian Cassidy Auger said she did not want to give a speech because she was a “scaredy-cat.”
“I, obviously, purposely tore my own ACL as a last resort,” she quipped. “Even that didn’t work.”
Auger warned the front row to be ready for her to vomit and noted that she had not taken the Vicodin prescribed for her injury, apologizing to friends looking forward to a drugged-up speech. She added that as ready as her class was to move on, they would all miss something about high school.
She went on to compare life to a game of baseball.
“The best thing about this game, this game called life, is every day we get another at-bat,” she said. “Each of us gets a chance to do something great, to make something happen.”
Valedictorian Abigail Rampone delivered much of her speech in the form of a spoken word poem, recited rapid-fire. The lyrical composition covered memories of school, how the students changed, and the differences between them.
“I decided to use a poem as part of my speech for a very specific reason — because I was scared to do it,” she said.
Rampone urged her classmates to embrace their individuality.
“Admit it if you’re quirky or geeky or interested in unusual things,” she said. “Being yourselves often involves going into the unknown. ... A lot of people will tell you to be yourselves. I am going to tell you to be yourselves in public.”