WESTFIELD - Outlined against a hazy summer morning sky, the 61 members of Westfield Academy and Central School's Class of 2013 gathered together for the last time Saturday, June 22.
Hundreds of parents, family members and friends filled the football field's bleachers to happily join in the WACS 176th annual commencement.
"A celebration of people and experiences," was the description by class valedictorian Kristin Grohol. "Take a moment to remember your accomplishments," she advised her classmates.
Photo by Dave O’Connor
Sixty-one exuberant members of Westfield Academy and Central School’s Class of 2013 tossed their graduation caps skyward at the conclusion of their commencement Saturday , June 22.
Salutatorian Daniel Tofil struck a nostalgic note saying the joy of graduation is tempered by the fact that his fellow seniors will now walk separate paths.
Tofil thanked his family, teachers, coaches, classmates and school staff for what he called "a group effort" to bring the Class of 2013 to graduation. He spoke of feeling that support the first day he boarded the bus for kindergarten.
Commencement speaker Jill Brautigam Jordon PhD, a 1995 WACS graduate, talked about the application of mathematics to daily life. Jordon teaches math at Houghton College where she is an assistant professor.
"All I need to know I learned in math class," she began, but quickly added "almost."
Jordon received her doctorate in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College in 2005 and told graduates her studies yielded at least three valuable lessons.
First, she advised writing in pencil, a metaphor, she explained for an approach to life where mistakes are recognized, corrected and then put behind.
Next she talked about working with others to solve problems. Mathematicians , "even the most brilliant," work in groups and actively help each other, Jordon said.
Finally, she said, math is learned by doing. This approach can be practiced in every area of life and is especially helpful in relating to others, according to Jordon. She gave as an example the practice of treating others with respect, which will open new ways to make more sturdy friendships and families.
Top academic achievers in the class according to the graduation program were Kristin Grohol, Daniel Tofil, Kayla Bentham, Ralph Bohall, Chloe Forsell, Rebekah Herr, Nina Manzella, Gregory Momberger, Hillary Nelson and Miranda Warner.
Grohol, Tofil, Forsell, Herr, Manzella, Momberger, Nelson and Warner are also members of the national Honor Society as are Sarah Kelly, Jennifer LaPorte, Lee Mason and Don Wood III.
Graduating seniors were handed their diplomas by WACS Board of Education President Jeff Greabell and Secondary School Principal Ivana Hite.