WACS graduates celebrate past, look to the future


Special to the OBSERVER

WESTFIELD – Valedictorian Kristin Grohol told her senior classmates their graduation from Westfield Academy and Central School in an outdoor proceeding Saturday morning was “a celebration of people and experiences.”

Grohol advised the 60 other graduates to “take a moment to remember your accomplishments.”

Salutatorian Daniel Tofil acknowledged the support he received from classmates, teachers, coaches and family from the time he first boarded a bus for kindergarten.

Tofil said the joy of graduation is, for him, tempered by the fact that members of the class of 2013 will be taking different paths.

A member of the WACS class of 1995, Jill Brautigam Jordon, Ph.D., tied the study of mathematics to everyday challenges when she delivered the commencement address. Jordon received her doctorate in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College in 2005 and is now an assistant professor in that subject at Houghton College.

“All I need to know, I learned in math class,” she began while quickly adding “almost.”

Studying math, according to Jordon, yields at least three valuable lessons: write in pencil, work with others and learn by doing.

Using a pencil, she said, is a metaphor for a certain approach to life: Acknowledge mistakes, make corrections and move on.

Working with others is routine among mathematicians, according to Jordon. “Even the most brilliant,” she said, work in groups and seek help solving problems.

Her third point, learn by doing, is applicable to all of life, she advised. For example, she pointed to getting along with others. Learning and practicing treating others with respect will help open new ways to make relationships more sturdy, according to Jordon.

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 Warners 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 Jeff Greabell, board of education president, and Ivana Hite, secondary school principal.

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