PHOTOS: Class of 2017 Encouraged to Create a Less Toxic, Less Troll-Filled World

Alisyn Camerota

Greenwich High School commencement speaker, journalist Alisyn Camerota who is a host at CNN and previously worked at Fox News. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Greenwich High School held graduation for the class of 2017 in Cardinal Stadium on a glorious, mild evening on Tuesday.

Commencement speaker Alisyn Camerota, anchor on CNN’s morning show “New Day,” lamented the sorry state of national discourse.

“Anonymous trolls are the lowest life form,” she said, characterizing people as too often “listening resistant” and “tolerance impaired.”

“You’re graduating into a divided, fairly toxic world,” she warned. “I may be understating it. Of course the world has always been divided, but it has not always been as toxic as it is today. More than ever, people feel free to publicly insult anyone who does not share their world view.”

Camerota offered a dramatic rendition of comments from her Twitter feed: “Yet again Alisyn Camerota’s liberal dreams get crushed on live TV – she is a disgraceful person…You are a Trump apologist, you work on the dark side. Shame on you!”

Camerota’s advise to the class of 2017 was to listen people whose ideas are  diametrically opposed to their own, or even repugnant. “How else will you know what you’re up against?” she asked.

Encouraging the class of 2017 to engage in respectful debate, Camerota  urged students to open their minds and hearts. “Do not practice selective listening and knee-jerk insulting.”

Camerota said she was impressed with GHS’s Kindness Campaign and  the tradition of Names Day. “March that same spirit into the world with you,” she said.

Ricky Columbo

Senior class president Ricky Columbo said he was new to GHS as a sophomore and felt lucky to have been warmly welcomed. June 20, 2017

Valedictorian William Yin said that only a few years ago, the class of 2017 were naive, newly minted middle school graduates. “Excited and yet fearful of the future,” he recalled. “Back then, we were small and we were fearful.”

William said that as a freshman he thought he had a direction.

“During those first days, my four-foot tall naive freshman self knew that he wanted to write and publish the greatest novel the world had ever seen,” he recalled. “I never did end up writing that book, but what I retained was a childhood passion to dream and create.”

William said he was tainted by fear, but with time his fear became a frontier to be explored and unveiled.

william yin

Class of 2017 Valedictorian William Yin delivered remarks about confronting fear and exploring the unknown. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Early in the evening headmaster Dr. Winters asked everyone to share a long moment of silence in honor of GHS junior Nicolas Del Priore.

Winters went on to share some fun facts about the 635 students who comprise the class of 2017. Winters said the class is diverse, with students coming from 35 countries from Iceland to Argentina, and from Japan to Iran, and speaking 21 languages at home.

He said 62% of the class took and passed at least one AP test, and 63% participated in athletics over their four years at GHS. He said 93% of the class of 2017 participated in the arts. Winters said 470 seniors went out on  internships, receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews, and 95 students did senior projects.

Winters said the class of 2017 participated in an array of community service projects including collecting record numbers of food items to commemorate 911,  providing hundreds of meals for needy families on Thanksgiving, and donating more blood in a single day than any other high school in Connecticut.

As for firsts and lasts, Winters said the class of 2017 was the first to enjoy the new music classrooms and the last class to start school at 7:30 am. He said they were the first to stage a food truck fair and the first to organize a kindness campaign. He said the class of 2017 was the first to complain less about the WiFi connectivity than complain about juniors parking.

“You’re probably the last class to bring me out on stage during SRO to rap to a tune from Hamilton,” he said.

Dr. Chris Winters

GHS headmaster Dr. Chris Winters delivered remarks on the beautiful, sunny evening of graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Drew Fuller

Drew Fuller waits to receive his diploma at GHS graduation in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Spencer Grabel, Dr. Chris Winters

Dr. Winters holds up a wireless router presented to him by Spencer Grabel on behalf of the class of 2017. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Members of the band at GHS graduation. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Julia Moch

Julia Moch arrives in Cardinal Stadium for graduation. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

graduation, GHS, 2017

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

 

Erik Mini and Lauren Madigan-Sinclair

Erik Mini and Lauren Madigan-Sinclair wait for their diplomas at GHS graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Michelle Yoon

David Walko with Michelle Yoon and her father, band director, John Yoon at GHS graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Liz Murray with her diploma at GHS graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Maxine King receives her diploma at graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Ana Heavey

Ana Heavey with her diploma at GHS graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

John Yoon

John Yoon directs the band at GHS graduation, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Dr. Chris Winters, Dr. Sal Corda

Dr. Chris Winters and Interim Superintendent lead teachers and staff from Greenwich High School onto the field at Cardinal Stadium for graduation. June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Erickson, Bernstein, Tesei, Marzullo

Board of Education members Laura Erickson and Peter Bernstein walk onto the field in Cardinal Stadium followed by First Selectman Peter Tesei and Selectman Drew Marzullo, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Graduation of the class of 2017 in Cardinal stadium, June 20, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager


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