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120 Graduate From Helen Keller Middle School

EASTON, Conn. — Music was in the air Wednesday as 120 students celebrated their graduation from Helen Keller Middle School. Bob LaValle, the instrumental music director for the past 33 years, conducted his last playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" before the ceremony began.

LaValle is retiring after an illustrious career. "It's my last graduation," he said. "The most rewarding element is that kids still respond to music. They're still interested in blowing into trumpets and saxophones in this high-tech age."

The eight-grade chorus, directed by Sarah Newman, performed the other musical piece, "Little Wonders."

The ceremony featured remarks by class President Scott Bindelglass and two other student speakers, including Rachel Rosenstein, who said, "It's not just our knowledge but our imagination that is the key to success."

A number of awards were given out, including the First Selectman award for community service, presented by First Selectman Thomas Herrmann to Lourdes Kaufman.

The event was held in the gym at Joel Barlow High School, which most of the graduates will attend next year.

School principal Susan Kaplan was proud of the class. "We were one of 33 middle schools and four in Connecticut that were recognized as Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S Department of Education this year. It's a very significant recognition and these students were indicators of the award," she said. "It's a very strong class. They have a lot to give and they'll do well."

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