Graduates of Hamden Hall Country Day School’s Class of 2012 were told they were making history as each accepted coveted diplomas during the school’s Centennial Commencement Exercises last week.
“We are the 100th graduating class of this school, and, simply by being here today, we are making history,” said Valedictorian Nikhil Trehan of Wallingford, who will continue his education at Brown University in the fall.
Graduates also enjoyed another first in the school’s storied history – the Class of 2012, at 82 students, is Hamden Hall’s largest class to date. Thirteen of the graduates attended Hamden Hall since pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, and five are the children and grandchildren of Hamden Hall alumni.
Included in that group are Karla Fasano, daughter of state Sen. Leonard Fasano, Hamden Hall Class of 1977, who introduced Commencement speaker Richard C. Levin, president of Yale University; and Madeline Belt, who received her diploma from her grandmother, Carol Nutile Burke, Hamden Hall Class of 1947.
Speaking from a spot that formerly housed the original Pinehurst mansion that was transformed into classrooms when the school was founded in 1912, Fasano noted the physical changes that have taken place on campus over the years.
“But what the school stands for has never changed,” said Fasano. “It’s been here for 100 years and it’s a great, loving, caring institution. Happy birthday, Hamden Hall.”
President Levin cited the school as “a major asset” to the New Haven community for the past century and noted that 11 graduates are the children of Yale faculty and staff. He proceeded to offer advice to the graduates, urging them to stretch themselves academically, personally, and globally.
“The more subjects you study the more interesting you’ll see the world around you,” Levin said. “You’ll stand a better chance of discovering an unsuspected passion.”
Salutatorian Jill Gardiner of Trumbull, who will attend Skidmore College in the fall, reminded her classmates that changes were forthcoming once they stepped off campus.
“We’ll all head off our separate ways, and this group of people will never coincide in the same way again,” she said. “By the time we come together again, we’ll have reinvented ourselves.”
Student Government President Noah Swimmer of Madison, who will attend George Washington University, presented the Welcome Address, and Senior Class President Blake Acquarulo of North Haven,who is Boston College bound, presented the senior class gifts.
Head of School Robert Izzo, whose son Michael Izzo was among the graduates and will attend the University of Notre Dame, concluded the ceremonies.
“Class of 2012: go forward and build on your extraordinary education,” said Izzo.