Connecticut River Academy Graduates First Four-Year Class
With more than half of the graduates having earned college credits, 20 inducted into the National Honor Society, and 12 having volunteered more than 100 hours of individual community service, the Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) Class of 2014 had much to be proud of. The honor most frequently mentioned during the graduation ceremony on June 17, however, was something no one else will ever be able to claim: these students were the first to complete four full years in the CTRA program.
In her emotional address, senior speaker Erica Beavers stated, “We are the pioneers. We set the standards.” This was the class that chose to leave the safety of their former schools back in August of 2010 to take a chance on a different kind of future for themselves at the environmentally-themed magnet school.
Several speakers spoke wryly of “The Sandbox,” the original accommodations for CTRA, “a hallway with classrooms to the left and classrooms to the right,” as one called it. That picture changed dramatically when CTRA moved into its stunning new home along the banks of the Connecticut River on the Goodwin College campus in East Hartford. With facilities and equipment to support the school’s programming, the move heralded a new day for the students: “a world of infinite opportunities,” Beavers remarked.
While CTRA principal Linda Dadona and Goodwin College president Mark Scheinberg both spoke at graduation of the marvels of the new building, they both agreed that the real marvel was the growth that took place among the school community, faculty as well as students. “You are the explorers,” Scheinberg stated. “You adapted to the challenges. You met new people, learned to get along, and created a diverse community. In the end, you are the best of what the magnet school system was created for.”
Dadona thanked Scheinberg for his vision for the Academy. She spoke about how the students and faculty had grown along with the school, calling out incidents that were both humorous and moving. She took a moment to reflect on her own growth at CTRA and thanked the community for teaching her lessons of patience, understanding, and flexibility.
The capacity crowd of family and friends in the CTRA gymnasium then watched as the 88 graduates received their diplomas and took part in the ceremonial turning of the tassels before recessing to the song “Send Me On My Way.”