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Courant: Hartford’s Sport and Medical Sciences Academy Graduates 76

Thursday June 12, 2008

Hartford’s Sport and Medical Sciences Academy Graduates 76
by Julie Stagis
Courant Staff Writer
June 12, 2008
©The Hartford Courant

WEST HARTFORD

The hoots, hollers and applause continually erupting from the crowd at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy’s graduation Wednesday night were the perfect expression of the pride that swelled throughout the auditorium at St. Joseph College.

Teachers and families were proud of the students, and the students were proud of themselves, each other and their school.

And with good reason. “This is the class whose CAPT scores got SMSA on the list of America’s Best High Schools in U.S. News & World Reports,” Principal Eduardo Genao said.

“Thank you for making us so proud of you,” Genao told the graduates of the Hartford magnet school, before rattling off more impressive statistics.

The class of 76 students had a 100 percent graduation rate. Also, 100 percent of them applied and were accepted to college. Ninety-seven percent of the graduates took the SAT. Of the 421 total college applications submitted by the students, 360 were for four-year schools.

In his lively and humorous speech, valedictorian Qendrim Misini reminded students that this would not be the end of their achievements.

“We’re here to draft our own declaration of independence,” Misini said after noting that the “Committee of Five” met to draft the U.S. Declaration of Independence on June 11, 1776–exactly 232 years before their graduation.

He encouraged his classmates to pursue whatever makes them happy.

“I don’t know what the future holds for us,” Misini said, “But I know who holds the future.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Daniel Switchenko, a professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, urged each graduate to complete college studies and develop the characteristics of a successful person.

“If you can improve your family, and positively impact your community, you’re going to make the world a better place,” Switchenko said.

Finally, Senior Class President Asheley Colon-Torres got to the heart of academy pride.

“We were strangers that turned into friends, that became a huge, huge, huge family,” she said.

And, fighting tears, Colon-Torres summed up the reason for the excitement in the room.

“We did it!”

Contact Julie Stagis at jstagis@courant.com.