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Staples Baccalaureate, Celebrating the Past and Looking Ahead

By James Lomuscio

Festive, appreciative, a little bittersweet and seamlessly executed professionally, tonight’s Staples High School’s Baccalaureate Ceremony for the 463 seniors who will graduate Thursday had an energy that kept audience riveted from the start in the school’s packed auditorium.

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Salutatorian Megan Root tonight advised fellow seniors to be themselves. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

From the moment Nick Massoud, who will attend Yale University in the fall, stepped on stage as emcee to seniors Zoe Brown’s and Taylor Harrington’s final film of the school community tipping their Staples hats to Principal John Dodig, who is leaving, the students’ production brought laughter, cheers, tears and excitement about new beginnings.

“So let’s hear it for the class of 2015,” said Massoud, who maintained the persona of a variety show host throughout. “This is a celebration of the last four years and how fortunate we are to have gone to Staples.”

Massoud, hyperbole or not, even went on to say that his class was “the best to ever walk the halls of Staples.” He cited its athletic prowess, including the Girls Soccer team’s FCIAC championship, the Orphenians performing on the West Coast, and myriad extracurricular laurels, such as the student newspaper Inklings’s nod from Columbia University, as well as myriad academic achievements.

The evening grabbed hold of the audience when Staples sophomore Katherine Griffin gave a masterful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” worthy of Yankee Stadium, followed by a poignant rendition of John Mayer’s “Stop the Train” performed by seniors Noa Wind accompanied on guitar by Ellis Laifer.

The band One of These Days made up of Staples seniors drew a round of applause for its version of Franz Ferdinand’s “Take me Out,” followed by a “Battle of the Drums” performed Buddy Rich-style by senior drummers Andrew Puchala and Justin Slodberg.

Staples a cappella choir directed by Luke Rosenberg drew a groundswell of emotion with many in the audience dabbing tears as “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel were dedicated to Dodig.

Rosenberg said they were chosen after researching Dodig’s favorite songs.

“This is for you, Mr. Dodig,” he said.

Staples Athletic Director Marty Lisevick, selected as the faculty speaker, shared his experiences as a father whose children had gone off to college and the challenges they had faced.

He also told the graduates to savor the experience of being surrounded by family as they graduate Thursday, an experience “you’ll remember for a lifetime.”

“You really have nothing to worry about,” Lisevick said. “You’re graduating from the best high school in Connecticut.”

He also asked them to maintain their compassion and understanding of others.

And for the road ahead, Salutatorian Megan Root advised the seniors to be themselves.

“Be yourself, two words that are easy to say and as hard as hell to do,” she said.

The ceremony was followed by a senior class party at the Inn at Longshore.

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