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Greenwich Seniors Greet Graduation With Sadness, Excitement, Gratitude

Greenwich High School students line up for the school's 147th commencement ceremony Tuesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Henrik Akerman, 14, holds a baby photograph of his sister Camilla who was graduating Tuesday at Greenwich High School's 147th commencement. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich High School graduates, Keanu Meza, left, and Max Stallings, right, hurry to join their fellow classmates shorty before the 147th commencement started Tuesday evening. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich High School graduates Patricia David, left, and Leticia De Souza, right, just prior to the school's 147th commencement Tuesday. David will attend Iona College while De Souza is attending Sacred Heart University. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Kevin Kumar prior to the 147th commencement at Greenwich High School. He will be attending Elon University in North Carolina in September. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Jean Gordon, left, and Niccolo Meniconi, prior to the 147th commencement at Greenwich High School on Tuesday. Gordon will attend Marymount Manhattan College while Meniconi will attend UCONN. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Diplomas waiting to be picked up by Greenwich High School graduates. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Even as his team rolled to ninth straight state rugby championship, Kevin Kumar had a bittersweet feeling. A similar feeling surfaced for a while Tuesday evening as he prepared for the Greenwich High School commencement.

"It's going to be a little sad," he said about his final school event as a member of the Class of 2016. "Our last hurrah was at our state championship game and I already felt the sadness during that."

Tuesday was Greenwich High School's 147th commencement.

Even with his wistfulness at leaving he was eager and excited to launch the next step in his life and will be attending Elon University in North Carolina to study communications.

Emily Berzolla was the class valedictorian, while Hannah Storm, ESPN SportsCenter host, delivered the commencement address.

Many of the graduating students like Kumar have attended Greenwich Public Schools since kindergarten. However, that was not the case for Niccolo Meniconi, who moved back to the United States two years ago from Italy and enrolled in GHS as a junior. He soon discovered he had some catching up to do — both academically and socially.

"I had to do four years in two," he said, explaining that he had to fulfill some academic requirements in order to graduate this year. He was born in the United States but moved with his family back to his father's native Italy when he was a 1 years old until returning as a teen.

He did well enough that he plans on getting a bachelor of science degree in engineering and a bachelor of arts degree in music at the University of Connecticut. He has nothing buy praise for his time at GHS.

"I find Greenwich High School to be an amazing place," he said. "It's a great place to learn and make new friends."

His friend Jean Gordon, who will study theatre arts at Marymount Manhattan College, joined Meniconi in praising the school.

"I am so excited to be graduating," Gordon said. "These four years at Greenwich High School have been wonderful.

Friends Patricia David and Leticia De Souza also enjoyed their time at GHS but are eager to go on to college. David is attending Iona College for business, while De Souza is attending Sacred Heart University for pre-med.

David said she had a mix of emotions.

"It's kind of sad that I am saying goodbye to everybody but it is also going to be really exciting to start somewhere new," she said.

De Souza looked back with satisfaction at the effort she put into her studies.

"I am so happy that this day has come because I worked so hard all four years and it's a very good feeling to graduate and move on to the next step," she said.

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