Speech by Michael Harman, chairman of the Darien Board of Education

Good Afternoon, Administrators, Faculty, Parents, Guardians, Family, Friends, and Students, on behalf of my fellow Darien Board of Education members, welcome to the Graduation Ceremony for the Darien High School Senior Class of 2017 on this beautiful day in June.

It is a pleasure to stand before you today, to celebrate the culmination of the Class of 2017’s journey through the Darien Public Schools, and to look forward to the new horizons about to be set upon by this extraordinary senior class and recognize the example that this High School class is setting.

Our district has seen many changes over the last few years, but our high expectations have never wavered.  For many of our graduates, there have been those special individuals that have had a tremendous impact on their education and their success.  They demonstrated their passion and care in keeping the best interests of our children at the forefront, and I would be remiss in not thanking all those involved for the contribution they have made.

The academic community of the Darien Public Schools played a vital role in the success of the students of the Class of 2017, who are ending their journey today.  For almost half of this class, it began in one of our five community elementary schools as young children and continuing through Middlesex Middle School and Darien High School, our students were introduced to and later embraced learning.  Thank you to our teachers, coaches, support staff, and administrators, especially to Principal Mrs. Ellen Dunn, Assistant Principals, Dr. Jake Greenwood, Mrs. Ellen Sparks, and Mr. Michael Sullivan, Athletic Director Mr. Chris Manfredonia and Music Director Mr. Rick Sadlon, who supported them through the last leg of their journey.

Today is not just a celebration of our senior class, but also an acknowledgement of the community members who have encouraged and supported all of our students. We are incredibly grateful to the Darien community who supports our schools, not only with their continued financial contributions but also by opening their doors to support all of our programs that help our children grow, which is evidenced by this senior class and their amazing accomplishments.

And last but certainly not least, well deserved congratulations and thank you’s to the parents, guardians, family, and friends of the Class of 2017.  You have been supportive of the Darien Public Schools through your volunteer work and by the example that you have set as parents and guardians that helped mold this class into the fine young men and women we are celebrating today.

To the Class of 2017, you should celebrate today as the culmination of your journey through the Darien Public Schools. However, you should also remember that today marks the beginning of your next journey.  You are an extraordinary group of young women and men who are departing from Darien High School with a vast array of accomplishments and talents, share these on your next journey, but also take full advantage of the new opportunities and challenges that you will face and embrace them. Learning never exhausted the mind and I would want you to remember that imagination can take you everywhere.  Add to your array of accomplishments and talents and make your mark on your next journey, just as you have done here.  

The Darien Board of Education and the Community of Darien wishes you, the Class of 2017, our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes on your graduation from Darien High School.