Capital Prep High School principal addresses graduates: 'This is what winning looks like'
Hartford Courant. Ruth Bruno. June 01, 2018.

A row of 46 students clad in orange and white caps and gowns lined the hallway at Capital Preparatory Magnet School Friday afternoon as they prepared to walk the stage and receive their diplomas.

In just a few hours they would be the latest graduates of a school that says 100 percent of graduates have gone on to college since the school opened in 2005, according to Principal Kitsia Hughey Ferguson.

Just like in previous years, all 46 students in the Class of 2018 plan to go on to higher education, the school’s director of college admissions Tammy Millsaps said. The students said they are ready.

“I’m ready for new experiences,” Larry Mounds Jr. said. “I’m ready to see the real world.”

Mounds, 17, has attended Capital Prep since sixth grade and has been accepted into Assumption College with a football scholarship. He plans to study mass communications.

Mounds described himself as “that guy” as he was heavily involved in school sports and often took on leadership roles in student government, he said.

“It’s been a great experience, I’ve been through a lot of change,” Mounds said.

Marwa Abdinoor, 17, was among the students who said she was ready to embrace the next step. She finished as the class valedictorian and plans to study biology at UConn in the fall.

“This is so refreshing and I can’t explain it in words,” Abdinoor said. “All that hard work paid off in the end.”

For Abdinoor there was no shortage of hard work. She recently finished her senior project, or “capstone,” which she’s been developing for the last 14 months, she said.

Abdinoor dedicated her capstone to studying the link between economic status and families’ access to affordable dental care. She partnered with Charter Oak Health Center to carry out the study. “My research showed that families are struggling to get access to the care they need,” Abdinoor said.

With the capstone behind her and the ceremony minutes away, Abdinoor anticipated the event with excitement.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” she said with a smile.

Syruss Torres,18, stood further down the hallway with gold and blue cords draped around his neck. “I’m excited,” he said. “But I’m trying to stay humble,” he laughed. One cord denoted his membership in the National Honor Society and another had been earned for the completion of his senior capstone.

To top off his seven years at Capital Prep, Torres had decided to start a school club dedicated to improving the relationships between other clubs on the campus.

“We focused on improving communication and connectedness,” he said. Torres plans to keep education in the forefront when he attends Central Connecticut State University to study physical therapy in the fall.

“Every single staff member and faculty here — they put a smile on my face,” Torres said.

As the students filed into the gymnasium, a crowd of about 300 friends, siblings and parents cheered the graduates on. Some held signs and banners with their child’s photograph. Others brought balloons and flowers, and some even broke the invisible line, running into the crowd of orange and white robes to hug a graduate.

Ferguson urged students to “take chances” and “carry on the tradition of being trailblazers,” as she addressed the graduates in front of a cheering audience.

“Be the olive branch for equity and peace,” she said. “You are Capital Prep-built, so carry on the tradition of excellence.” 

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