Staples High introduces ‘class day’ graduation speaker

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — At the graduation ceremony traditionally centered on speeches by the top academic achievers, Staples High School in the Connecticut shoreline town of Westport took a slightly different tack this year.

First-year Principal James D’Amico introduced the first “class day speaker,” an honor based on a student’s contributions to the community.

This year’s honoree, Megan Hines, led a school anti-bullying group and is bound for the University of Rhode Island. She said there is huge pressure on students to excel in upper-level classes but it is fine not to be track to become a rocket scientist, the Connecticut Post ( reported.

“Unlike most of my classmates, I have never taken an honors or AP class at Staples, but I still learned a lot,” Hines said.

She said she felt isolated at school at times, but she got through her struggles with support from school staff and her peers.

“I realized being me was not about taking advanced courses and I had to work really hard to be OK with that,” she said.

The class valedictorian, Emily Schussheim, also gave a speech and urged her classmates to “leave things a little better than we found them.” She plans to study at Yale University.

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