Wilton High School graduates’ next chapter is up to them

Photo of J.D. Freda

Members of the Class of 2022 walked onto Tom Fujitani Field at Wilton Veterans Memorial Stadium Saturday as seniors for the last time before tossing their caps in the air and exiting as alumni with eyes set firmly on their next chapter.

While the direction of the past few school years has been out of their hands, co-valedictorian Avery Baumel said each student’s next step is finally back in their control.

“We made it to this moment that we’ve imagined and feared and dreamed about. We made it through a world that seemed to change every day,” Baumel said. “We created and accepted new definitions for school and for normal. What comes next is entirely up to us.”

Ultimately, Baumel said, the Class of 2022 gets to choose which moments it embraces and which ones are to be passed over.

“And as a class, we have had a lot of those decisions to make. Our four years have not been normal or easy,” Baumel said. “We’ve been faced with so many obstacles. We’ve heard the word ‘unprecedented’ an unprecedented amount of times.”

Fellow co-valedictorian Anne Caldwell called the beginning of her high school career “pretty normal,” having featured a typical homecoming, midterms and the sort. “There also wasn’t a pandemic, which was a plus.”

“Despite the numerous challenges we faced, we didn’t stop, we didn’t fold, we didn’t give up,” Caldwell said to her fellow classmates. “My friends and teammates might have heard me say this short quote by Walt Disney a thousand times, but I’m going to say it for you all today: keep moving forward.”

Megan Hanny, senior class vice president, announced that she and her cohort will be donating funds to two class gifts.

“Half of the funds will be used towards constructing and designing Wilton High School’s outdoor classroom to create a special place where students can work together, learn and grow,” she said. “The other half of the funds we are proud to announce will be donated to the George DiRocco Memorial Fund to honor our loved classmate, friend, athlete and of course, Warrior.”

DiRocco, a beloved student at Wilton High School, died in September 2020 at just 16.