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Graduation 2010: Bradwell
BI Dani
Bradwell Institute’s graduation had somber undertones as former Class of 2010 member Danielle Burrill and former BI Spanish teacher Irma Thomas were remembered with seats occupied by their photographs only. - photo by Photo by Lewis Levine
Framed photographs of a classmate and teacher, departed but not forgotten, were displayed prominently on draped chairs during Bradwell Institute’s 2010 commencement Friday night.
Student Danielle Burrill and Spanish teacher Irma Thomas’ memories were honored several times during the joyous, but subdued, graduation ceremony. Burrill, who would have graduated this year, died suddenly two years ago. Her twin sister, Allyson Burrill, was among some 350 graduates to receive their diplomas.
Thomas, 54, succumbed to cancer on May 4, according to Bradwell Institute Principal Dr. Vicki Albritton.
Albritton said both Burrill and Thomas made a positive impact on those they left behind.
She admitted this graduation was bittersweet for her because she had a chance to see many of these graduates progress during the past four years. Albritton also found it hard to pin down a few who stand out, “because there are so many great kids.”
Bradwell’s principal characterized the Class of 2010 as a tight-knit group of achievers.
“They’re a close group of students because many of them have known each other for a longer period of time than previous classes,” Albritton said.
Salutatorian Christopher Smythe mused how he and his fellow graduates would soon go their separate ways, to college, the military or the workforce. He also said high school “has shaped us all.”
He added some of the graduating class’s shared memories were not all happy, but should still be valued.
“You’ll be grateful for (these) memories,” Smythe said.
Valedictorian Natalie Sharpe spoke about how each graduate possessed unique and outstanding abilities, even if they didn’t realize it.
“You are all imbued with the passion of life,” Sharpe told them.
She readily admitted she wasn’t the best at everything and said she was “a nerd” because “all I do is study.” Sharpe added “everyone studies,” because one never stops learning. Life is an education, she said.
Sharpe said too many of her classmates spent too much time “feeling angry” while at Bradwell, and the time to move past those negative feelings was now.
“Resolve firmly now who you will be and who you will work toward becoming,” she advised. The valedictorian also asked her classmates to “reach out and show compassion for all.”
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