Commencement held for Class of 2012

Although we couldn’t find our way around the school, we plunged into this foreign setting of marble staircases and spooky catacombs. We were terrified of the work load… But we adapted... gradually becoming privy to the poise and grace of a Lauralton lady. --Valedictorian Megan Cogguillo

Do not fear the Dickinson-like dashes that signal a pause, or the more difficult passages that may contain a Poe-like melancholy. Out of those moments of trial are often born the moments of Thoreau inspired triumph, where the present peace makes past turbulence worthwhile.  --Salutatorian Abbey Guerino

On June 3, Lauralton Hall presented diplomas to 108 young women from 26 towns across Connecticut. President Antoinette Iadarola, Ph.D., gave the opening and closing remarks along with speeches from Valedictorian Megan Cogguillo and Salutatorian Abbey Guerino. These two young women and Catherine McAuley Award-winner Marisa Dowling topped a list of accomplished and service-minded graduates who will pursue higher education at some of the most competitive colleges and universities in the country, including Dartmouth, Georgetown, Mount Holyoke, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt and more.

Valedictorian Megan Cogguillo is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Cogguillo of Milford. Megan is in National Honor Society and has been a class officer for two years. She wrote legislation and won “Best Debater” at the annual state Youth and Government Conference in Hartford. Megan also belongs to the French Club, the French Honor Society, and has volunteered at the West River Health Care Center. She will attend Dartmouth College where she plans to major in economics and minor in public policy. Megan and her family are members of St. Mary’s Parish in Milford.

Salutatorian Abbey Guerino is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Guerino of Milford. A gifted writer, Abbey served as a reporter at the annual state Youth and Government Conference in Hartford. She was editor of Highlights, the Lauralton school newspaper and an active member of Milford’s Young Women’s Club, helping to organize events for senior citizens, fundraisers for UNICEF and our troops. Abbey has received many awards including the Dartmouth Book Award and the Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony Award for outstanding commitment to social justice, as well as commendations for excellence in science, Religion and mathematics. This year she was voted the Lezotte Award by her classmates and the Archbishop Peter Rosazza Award from the faculty for Christian compassion through humble and joyful service. Abbey will attend Providence College in the fall where she hopes to major in English and journalism.  She was recently accepted at the Oxford Royale Academy where she will spend the summer studying with students from around the world.  She and her family are members of St. Mary’s Parish in Milford.

Catherine McAuley Award Winner Marisa Dowling
The McAuley Award, Lauralton’s highest honor, is named for the Sisters of Mercy’s foundress and is given to a student for her commitment to Lauralton’s mission; her sound academic performance, her spirit of volunteerism and a value system that responds to others with compassion, courage and genuine graciousness. This year the award went to Marisa Dowling, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Dowling of Shelton. Not only is Marisa a scholar and an exemplar of Mercy values, she played brilliantly on the basketball, field hockey and softball teams. As captain of all three teams she led with unwavering sportsmanship and humility--respectful of all and respected by all. Marisa was also president of her class, a member of the National Honor Society, a Peer Tutor, and a Bridgeport Hospital volunteer. The McAuley award was presented by Board of Trustees chair, Eugenie Guterch, RSM. Marisa will attend Colgate University in the fall where she will further her academic studies and play softball. Marisa’s Forensics teacher and coach Theresa Napolitano feels that, “The foundation Marisa built while at Lauralton is as strong as her character. She leaves her mark on everything she does, as well as on everyone she meets in the classroom and on the athletic fields. Her enthusiasm is admirable and fuels all of her pursuits. Marisa is like a rock full of energy entering the water. The benefits she brings to Colgate will be rippling--her impact on the outside world will be far reaching.”

Class of 1962 Recognized
Representatives of the Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th jubilee and were recognized by members of the graduating class who presented each jubilarian with a single rose. President Iadarola handed them golden diplomas and gifts. Graduate Jacqueline Kubicko was thrilled that her grandmother, Judith Zubko Daignault is a jubilarian! 

Walking Down the Golden Staircase Tradition Re-instated
In a historic touch, the class of 2012 revived a school tradition called “Walking Down the Golden Staircase.” After the graduation ceremony concluded, the graduates elegantly descended the carved spiral staircase that is part of the original Lauralton mansion where the alumnae community welcomed them as their newest members. Carolyn O’Conner, ‘09 was one of the alumnae who greeted the graduates at the bottom of the staircase. Carolyn, who stood with five fellow classmates said, “The most moving part of the graduation ceremony was when President Iadorola spoke of the enduring bonds of Lauralton friendships and told the story of a student, who when making calls for the annual fund, spoke with an alum who had been diagnosed with cancer. The alumna said that her greatest support while undergoing treatment was from the friends she made 50 years ago at Lauralton Hall. That really struck a chord with all of us. Even though we have all made good friends in college, we feel that our Lauralton friends are our most profound support system and that we will always be there for each other.”

Liturgy and Lauralton Legacy
In celebration of the Class of 2012, a Graduation Liturgy, presided over by the Rev. Charles Allen, S.J., was held on June 2. Opening and Offertory songs were sung by the Advanced Vocal Ensemble. As the Liturgy drew to a close, several members of the class of 2012 who are the daughters and granddaughters of Lauralton alumnae were recognized.

President’s Remarks
In her closing remarks President Antoinette Iadarola spoke of how impressed she is with this year’s graduating class. “I saw your curiosity for learning, your talents, your commitment to excellence--rejecting mediocrity and your respect for persons regardless of race, sex, class, or religion…I am proud that all of our graduates will be going on to college and have cumulatively received over nine million dollars in merit based aid! I am also proud that you have used your Mercy education to formulate your vision of a just global society and most especially your compassion in the many volunteer service projects you engaged in. In total, the class of 2012 completed over 11,000 hours of volunteer service during your four years and 17 of you have completed over 100 hours in one school year--that’s incredible.”

More Graduation Coverage
The Class of 2012 roster, college acceptance list and department awards list are posted on the upper right side of this page. The links below lead to more coverage of the Lauralton graduation.  

     Connecticut Post photo coverage: Lauralton Hall Graduation
     New Haven Register article: Lauralton Hall mansion opened to 108 graduates
     Milford Mirror article: Lauralton kicks off graduation season with speeches about change and happy endings

The entire Lauralton community congratulates the Class of 2012 on their many accomplishments and wishes each graduate an exciting and rewarding college experience.  


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