Maria Lopez

A Night of Dreams: CT River Academy Graduates 80

In his remarks to the Connecticut River Academy (CTRA) Class of 2015, Goodwin College president Mark Scheinberg referred to the ceremony as a “night of dreams.” “The land where your school sits today was once brownfields with oil tanks. You started out at CTRA in the Sandbox,” he said, referring to the small modular classrooms that originally housed the students until their new four-story building on the banks of the Connecticut River opened in 2014. Any dream is possible, he added, once you find out the “why” of your life.

Guest speaker Dr. Eileen Howley of LEARN, encouraged the graduates to appreciate the “partnerships in education” that had brought them to this point in their lives: the CTRA faculty and administrators as well as their families and guardians. “CTRA has been a place where educators know you,” she said, “and believe in you.”

Felix Baez of Hartford
Felix Baez of Hartford

Retiring CTRA principal Linda Dadona offered emotional final remarks to her students: “I am struck by the thought that we are like bookends. You are at the end of 13 years of public education, getting ready for the next phase of your education and careers. I am at the other end of that journey.” She urged the graduates to remember the life lessons they had learned at CTRA and to develop an attitude of gratitude. “Gratitude has been linked to increased happiness and life satisfaction. I can tell you, first hand, that this has been true for me.”

Assistant principal Tara Amatrudo has been named to succeed Dadona in the coming school year.

Student speaker Jaisha Rivera reminded her classmates of their initial concerns about electing to attend the environmentally themed magnet high school, rather than their hometown schools. “CTRA taught us about relationships and the importance of community,” she offered. “For a lot of us, this is the greatest accomplishment in our lives so far. Some of us are the first in our families to graduate from high school or the first to go to college. Some have overcome barriers that only they can comprehend.”

Of the 80 graduates in this year’s CTRA class, 44 have already earned credits at Goodwin College, 21 have been inducted into the National Honor Society, and 11 have volunteered for 100 hours or more of service to the community.

View photos here.