EHHS Class of 2021 takes up mantle to celebrate diversity

·7 min read

Jun. 10—EAST HARTFORD — Class of 2021 graduates were encouraged to continue to persevere and celebrate their diversity during Wednesday's graduation ceremony at the high school's athletic field.

Valedictorian Barbara Agbotey said she was unsure what message to send to her classmates until she recently had an epiphany while attending a senior picnic event. During the event, she said, she noticed the diversity of her class, but not in the conventional sense.

COLLEGE PLANS

VALEDICTORIAN: Barbara Agbotey, accepted to the University of Pennsylvania; plans to major in engineering or architecture.

SALUTATORIAN: Sabrina Hsiao, accepted to Brown University; plans to major in molecular

biology.

CLASS PRESIDENT: Delilah Terrero, accepted to American International College; plans to study nursing and obtained her certified nursing assistant license this year.

"Although we are a pretty racially diverse class and community, I mean in terms of our personality," she said. "It is a given that we're all unique individuals with different substances to bring to the table, but nonetheless, what makes us stand out as a class is our ability to acknowledge these differences."

Agbotey said she used to believe there was way too much tension among her classmates, but she said that, with time, she realized she was wrong. She urged her classmates to never stop celebrating what makes them different.

Salutatorian Sabrina Hsiao praised her classmates' ability to adapt and persevere as they faced unpredictable changes during the pandemic.

"One of the lessons I learned is that success is not guaranteed, but neither is failure," she said. "Struggle is proof of our strength, and it's proof that we are trying and haven't given up."

Hsiao said each member of the graduating class went through their own personal journey, and she encouraged them to be patient as they work to find their place in life.

"Some of you picked up an instrument for the first time, and some of you took off your cleats for the last time. Some of you discovered new passions, and some of you are still looking, and that's OK," she said. "There will always be an opportunity to discover what you want and pursue it. You just have to take the first step."

Class President Delilah Terrero said the past year has proven the adage: "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Terrero said her entire class struggled and was saddened after the pandemic hit last year. "We felt like the world completely stopped," she said.

But Terrero said the challenges posed by the pandemic ultimately were valuable for her and her classmates as they entered young adulthood.

"It has taught us to have strength and not to let our guard down," she said. "It has taught us that goals can be accomplished in life."

Terrero left her classmates with a final piece of advice: "Don't let the challenges defeat you; let the challenges teach you."

Board of Education Chairman Bryan Hall said the graduates' generation is picking up the mantle of previous civil rights leaders.

"My generation was right after the civil rights movement. My generation was right after a lot of laws that allowed people who looked like me to have some type of freedom," said Hall, who is Black. "And when the mantle was passed to us, I think we didn't have that drive, we didn't have that vigor, we didn't have that ability to move the mantle as fast as we should have."

Hall said many of the same challenges that were posed in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s have returned, and he said young people today are facing them with energy that more recent generations have not.

"When the call came out, I was so amazed at the people that were leading the marches, the people that were leading the speeches, the people that were working together to make sure that things got better in this country were young people just like you," he said. "It seemed like the mantle had been passed a couple of generations and now you had it in your hand and you were just sick and tired and said, 'I'm not going to take it anymore'"

Hall told the graduates they are moving on to "a greater level of expectation, and that expectation is that you now try to do your best to make this world a better place."

GRADUATE LIST

Celia Acosta-Fuentes, Emmanuel Acquah, Marti Adamcewicz, Liam Adams, Nadia Addo, Earvin Adjei, Chelsea Adutumwah-Korsah, Barbara Agbotey, Esperanza Aguilar, Billgate Agyekum Asante, Ivy Agyemang, Kalsoom Akhtar, Sara Al-Omari, Lili Albanez Rivera, Samaiyah Ali, Ashley Alvarado, Chastity Alvarado, Cristian Alvarado, Arianna Alvarez, Delilah Alvarez, Jazmin Alvarez-Arias, Andred Anderson, Matthew Anderson, Destiny Aquino, Pares Archer, Angela Arthur.

Kevin Baffour, Marvin Baffour, Mia Ballkishun, Kevin Barber, Nia Barnes, Milca Barreto, Nicquon Barrett, Saeed Barry, Alrick Bartley, Isaiah Beaulieu, Emmanuel Bekoe, Dejhaun Bell, Malik Bennett, George Benson, Kurtis Bernier, Shania Bissette-Joseph, Jessica Blum, Joshua Boateng, Melvin Bonilla Coto, Antonae Boysaw, Makiya Branch, Alisa Breen, Leon Brooks, Hannah Brown, Ke'Asjha Brown, Kevyon Brown, Kirk Brown, Myasia Bryant, Azaria Byrd, Danae Byrd.

Yaneiliz Candelaria Vazquez, Albert Caquias, Aisha Caraballo, Eric Carballo, Kelvin Carranza-Martinez, James Carrillo, Derek Carrion, Jacob Carrion, Xavier Carrion, Jeffrey Carryl, Alice Carvalho, Kayshliana Castillo, Kadahfi Castro, Xavier Castro, Franllelys Chevalier Gil, Genia Clarke, Shahid Clarke, Karismar Claudio, Jhade Claure, Kevin Cloutier, Rohan Coates, Jaiyliah Cochran, Omari Cohall, Meshaya Cohen, Aliyah Collymore, Avrey Coltey, Hermione Cordeiro Larkin, Isaiah Corum, Francisco Cosme, Elmer Coto Castillo, Aaron Cox, Mikayla Cranford, Roddell Crocker, Elias Cruz, Ezequiel Cruz, Jaylan Cruz, Jose Cruz, Tatiana Cruz, Tatyushka Cruz, Bryan Cuellar Rojas, Shanoya Curtis.

Simon Dacosta, Benjamin Daley, Ryan Daley, Tyelyn Daley, Joan Damasco, Zavior Darden, Enoch Darkwa, Junior Davis, Ulises De La Rosa, Brandon DeJesus, Treyvon DeJesus, Rosa Deras-Martinez, Angelina Deshalto, Jax Desmarais, Elmer Diaz, Ivree Diaz, Jonathan Diaz, William Diaz, Chijindum Dike, Adriahna Dillon, Joshua Dones, Kassandra Dones, Janessa Doran, Victoria Duarte, Hailey Dube, Kyle Dube, Alexander Dupont.

Jayden Echevarria, Alexander Edwards, Sashane Edwards, Sheldon Edwards, Elena Edwin, Eric Elongo, Yasmine Essel, Karen Estrada, Ivette Fabian, Jack Falvo, Mariangely Fernandini Figueroa, Olivia Fleeting, Olivia Fletcher, Ronny Flores, Julymari Florez, Abigail Frame, Camron Francis, Debbie Frimpong, Robert Fross.

Miranda Gonzalez, Karina Guzman, Illy Hoang, Tamir Holden, Jayden Jackson, Legacy Jackson, James Judkins, Stamatoula Kanellopoulos.

Hector Lazu, Anne Le, Jessica Le, Lam Le, Ryan Le, Lindra Ledger, Nathan Lemieux, Steven Lepack, Tiarra Lewis, Joseph Loarte, Elexio Lopez, Michael Lott, Juan Luciano, Amyr Lynn.

Serenity Machado Perez, Aaliyah Mansel, Travis Maragnano, Nikolas Marinaro, Taylor Martin, Anida Martinaj, Daira Martinez Lora, Mariel Martinez Reyes, Isaias Martinez Santana, Hanna Martinez, Julien Martinez, Keyli Martinez, Claudy Mathurin, Savion McBride, Anyssa McCalla, Marcus McCalop, Alex McDowell, Owen McFarlane, Dakari McGlashen, Derrell McQuillar, Dwayne Mebane, Kayraly Medina, Angela Meglin, Amarilys Mendoza, Melisa Mensah, Nashaza Mercado, Hayden Merza, Ariyanna Michaels, Nicholas Milligin, Lincoln Milling, Antonio Miranda, Jaden Mitchell, Jayandre Molina, Auria Montgomery, Jaheem Moodie, Norman Moore, Aylene Morante-Cubas, Jaqueline Moreno, James Morris, Jayden Morrissey.

John Napoleon, Ashley Nathaniel, Josbel Navarro Veras, Haddy Ndow, Xavier Negron, Christine Nguyen, Katelynn Nguyen, Tristian Nieves, Xavier Nieves, Kaitlyn Nunn, Augusta Nutakor.

Lorraine Ocasio, Henry Ochoa Umana, Emmanuel Ofori, Brianna Okantah, Nahzere Oliver, Yarisha Oliveras, Michael Oquendo-Ortiz, Antonio Ortiz.

David Pagan, Javier Palacios, Rishae Palmer, Tiana Palmer, Sarah Pardo, Tyler Parker, Raj Patel, Rudra Patel, Jordan Patrick, Shawn Patrick, Trishawn Paul, Sean Pereira, Cheryl Perreault, Alexia Phipps, Shakir Pike, Jude Pinthieire, Nitishia Plange, Damaris Plaza, Otaijah Poitier, Jose Polanco Santos, Ashley Prince, Sudeen Pryce.

Megan Klaire Rabanal, Ronaldo Ramos Hernandez, Samantha Ramos, Jania Randolph, Isaiah Rankine, Reece Rata, William Reyes Abrego, Colby Richardson, Aaliyah Risley, Dani Rivas Cruz, Estefani Rivera Linares, Desirae Rivera McNulty, Angel Rivera-Morales, Danuel Robinson, Jaida Robinson, Edwin Rodriguez De Jesus, Camila Rodriguez Gonzales, Dante Rodriguez, Nayeliz Rodriguez, Nayelli Rodriguez, Nicole Rodriguez, Bryan Romero, Carlos Rosario, Thomas Ross, Kayla Roux, Julianna Ruiz, Justin Ruiz.

Roosens Sainval, Alberto Salazar Rodriguez, Brianna Sanchez, Dalijha Sanchez, Valentina Sanchez, Stephanie Santana, Vanessa Santana, Isaiah Santiago, Makayla Santiago, Roxanna Santisteban Maguina, Kwaku Sarfo, Kwaku Sarpong, Khalil Scott, Andrea Shakes, Daniel Shea, Gary Shepard, Erika Sherman, Jimena Sibrian, Jennelyn Sierra, Joshua Simard, Danielle Sims, Jamelys Smith, Jada Soto, Anthony Springer, Jaden Staple, Mackenzie Stickels.

Cindy Tamarez, Brianna Taylor, Christian Taylor, Zahmel Taylor, Kevin Tejada-Soto, Delilah Terrero, Angelina Thavykane, Abdallah Thiam, Daniel Thomas, Kenado Thomas, Tabari Thomas, Timothy Tiet, Jacob Tipton, Jared Tofil, Aisha Tomlinson, Carlos Torres Rosario, Anthony Torres, Victor Torres, Jannise Torres-Jimenez, Pearlina Tran, Melissa Trudeau, Michelle Truong.

Mario Valdivia, Cesar Valenzuela, Wendy Valerio-Mata, Jesus Vasquez Orellana, Valentina Velez, Maricella Velita Bonilla, Jaylen Vera, Madisyn Vera, Kerinsky Viaud, Minh-Luan Vu.

Nikela Walker, Matthew Walton, Olivia Watkins, Devonte Webster, Jaslany White, Toya Whyte, Joel Williams, Meadow Williams, Shamyra Williams, Joshua Wilson, Ke'Aundre Woods, Ja'nayah Young.

For updates and coverage of Vernon and Stafford, follow Anthony Branciforte on Twitter: @ABranciforte_JI, Facebook: Reporter Anthony Branciforte, and Instagram: @JI_Anthony1.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting