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Norwalk High Grads Show Spirit, Determination

NORWALK, Conn. — Rain showers forced Norwalk High School’s graduation ceremonies indoors Wednesday, but the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the 330 graduates decked out in their green and white caps and gowns.

“I teared up as soon we entered the gym. It feels surreal,” said Marcela Osorio, who will be the first member of her family to go to college after high school. “I had a beautiful high school experience. I learned a lot and also learned about myself. I pushed my limits.”

“We are so proud of Marcela,” said her mother Sandra Osorio. “She studied hard and now she is going to a great college.” Marcela, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Colombia, will attend Williams College in Massachusetts in the fall on a nearly full scholarship.

As the seniors entered the gymnasium, parents sat on the bleachers holding flowers and balloons for the soon-to-be graduates. Space in the gym was limited, so only two guests per graduate were allowed. Other family members sat in an auditorium across the hall and watched a simultaneous broadcast on a large screen.

Class Valedictorian Lorena Sferlazza brought her fellow classmates to their feet to give their parents, friends and family a standing ovation for their support. “Thanks you for making us wake up every morning, the countless hours of driving and the advice.” Lorena encouraged her fellow classmates to pursue passions and be “present.” “Our passions are the gateway to happiness,” she said. “Let’s not miss opportunities to learn more about each other.”

Class Salutatorian Gabrielle Nowack said the class of 2011 was defined by its spirit and determination. An accomplished singer, Gabrielle reminded her class “music is powerful.”

Bringing to mind the school's mascot, the bear, class President Michael Corasaniti said, “In four years, we've gone from tiny cubs to full-grown grizzlies.“ He said Principal Lenny Mecca’s daily morning greeting will long echo in his ears. “Mike, we’ll do it.”

The Class of 2011 presented a $5,000 donation to the school to help renovate one of the school's rooms and a $1,000 donation to the incoming freshmen class.

Board of Education Chairman Jack Chiaramonte talked about the importance of mindset. “Winner and loser are determined by how they think,” he said. “You become the choices you make.”

Superintendent Susan Marks told the students that success often comes from failure. “Learn from your mistakes. They can push you to a new level. Be persistent. Hard work and effort always pays off."

Mayor Richard Moccia as he congratulated the graduates, saying, “I’ve always been impressed by your joy and exuberance."

After the graduation ceremony, Marcela planned to have dinner with her family at a restaurant. Later, she and many of her fellow graduates planned to attend the Post Graduation Party, an alcohol- and drug-free party given by their parents  “After that, we are going to the beach to watch the sunrise. I’ll probably sleep all day tomorrow.”

Did you attend the ceremony? Post your graduation wishes to the Norwalk High Class of 2011 below

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