Members of Lauralton Hall’s Class of 2015 graduated Saturday, May 30, recalling the bonds of sisterhood and some very important physics lessons that united them over the past four years.
Valedictorian Emily Discepola of Shelton and Salutatorian Olivia Maffei of Norwalk shared their observations of a Lauralton education as 113 young women prepared to accept their diplomas and begin the next steps of their lives.
Olivia, who heads off to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania in the fall, compared her years at Lauralton Hall to the movie The Breakfast Club, a coming-of-age movie from the 1980s
“Instead of five diverse teenagers spending a Saturday together, 113 diverse young women have spent four years together amidst porches and turrets and towers and creaky wooden hallways,” she said.
Olivia said the sisterhood at Lauralton is what attracted her to the school because when she toured it she noticed the bonds, and she realized that in that environment each person could be an individual.
“Even though we have learned that the hydrogen bond is the strongest intermolecular force, we have since invented and generated the LH bond, which is even stronger. Yes, individually we are nerds, artists, athletes, actors, singers and scholars, but together we comprise the Class of 2015.”
Olivia said that even though the students came from different towns, many traveling aboard the Metro-North train to get to the campus, they came together as one class quickly.
And just like those changed teens from The Breakfast Club, Olivia said, the Class of 2015 left the graduation ceremony changed — as “transformed, empowered women.”
Class Valedictorian Emily Discepola, who will attend the University of Connecticut, gave her fellow classmates a metaphorical physics review when she took to the podium. Physics, she said, exists everywhere, especially at Lauralton.
She reminded her fellow classmates that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
“On this campus, in this place, and over the time of the past four years, we have been set in motion, and no matter how great the obstacle that is in our path, the faculty at Lauralton Hall has given us the strength to overcome any challenge, to conquer both molehill and mountain,” Emily said.
Next, she reminded them that the relationship between an object’s mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma.
“The mass and acceleration are our core values and the breadth and depth of our academic knowledge,” Emily said. “The more we learned as we progressed in Lauralton’s classrooms and on her sports fields, the more academic acceleration and moral momentum we gained. We, the Class of 2015, are now a force, a force of good to change the world.”
And finally, she noted that physics class taught them that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And she pointed out that the Class of 2015 learned that “working hard is an action that has an amazing reaction — learning.”
Lauralton Hall President Dr. Antoinette (Toni) Iadarola talked about the success of the Class of 2015: Its members have been accepted at more than 300 colleges and universities, some heading to Boston, Drake, Georgetown, Cornell, Vassar, Fordham, Vanderbilt, Tulane, Virginia Tech and Columbia, to name a few.
She said the class has received more than $21 million in merit-based scholarships, and she praised them for their athleticism, charity, musical and environmental aspirations and their compassion.
“In short, you have learned well the dictim of our foundress, Catherine McAuley when she said, ‘The poor need help today … not next week’.”