Hartford graduation
Omar Ricardo Aquije - oaquije@poststar.com High school seniors stand with several children inside the Hartford school gym during Friday's 2010 graduation. At one point in the ceremony, children brought flowers for the graduates, who then walked into the audience to give the flowers to their parents. There were 45 students who graduated.

HARTFORD -- Benjamin Coppens waited two years for this moment.

Since he was in 10th grade, he had wanted to finish high school and move on with his life.

On Friday, he was among 45 students to graduate from the Hartford Central School District.

"I am extremely pumped to be graduating," Benjamin said before the 2010 ceremony inside a packed school gymnasium.

"I've been wanting to graduate for quite a while," said Benjamin, who is leaving town to study at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Officials said the 2010 graduating class is one of the largest in recent years. This year's ceremony was also the first to include air conditioning, which was added through a recent building renovation project.

The speakers included Kathleen Monroe, the valedictorian, and Jaclyn Petteys, the salutatorian.

Jeffrey Parrott, a former school board member, also spoke at the event, along with Danielle Blackstone, class president, and senior Kendyl LaSota, who gave the welcoming remarks.

There were musical performances from the senior class, the school band and seniors Emily Brunelle and Kathleen Monroe.

Superintendent Thomas Abraham and school board President Philip Jessen handed out the diplomas. Andrew Cook, high school principal, and Bethellen Mannix, elementary school principal, gave out the awards.

The ceremony was perhaps a final time for the 2010 class to be together. Many of the students had known each other since they were in preschool.

Olivia Parrott, a senior, said she has attended Hartford schools since she was in kindergarten. Once she reached the 12th grade, it hit her that her days at the school were almost over, she said.

"I'm excited. I'm a little nervous," she said before the event.

Fellow senior Lindsey Davis said she had a great experience at Hartford.

"It's been a great 14 years here. I had so much fun," she said.

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