Page 46 - Wallingford Magazine Issue 23, Summer 2019
P. 46

Promises Made & Promises Kept
By Stephen W. Hoag, Ph.D.
In the spring of each year seniors from every high school in America begin the rituals of final passage, culminating in graduation day. The concluding event is the graduation ceremony with adorned caps with tassels and gowns. With speeches usually far too singular and selfish, some gradua- tion oral presentations suggest a pledge to the future for the class that passes through the halls one last time and ma- triculates to this thing we call adulthood. In the thoughts of teachers, friends and family members, there are passing no- tions, postulated as questions, “What will these students be- come?” ... “Will this young person realize the promise made by their high school performance?” There have been many thousands of students who graduated with perceived poten- tial for greatest, the moniker of “can’t miss future” metaphori- cally placed beside a name. More often than not, the future takes a young person to places unforeseen and anticipated success in personal and professional life tends to erode the expectations proclaimed on graduation day.
The projected future of students at the hour of gradu- ation, both self-designed and those of family and friends is largely based upon the relative success of a high school ca- reer and can be characterized as the “the PROMISES MADE”. What each person does in the post-high school after life can be viewed as “PROMISES KEPT”.
As one parses the pages of yearbook memories, we note among the many senior class functions the selection of class superlatives. These are the endless list of titles that senior class members secure by a vote of their classmates
such as “most popu- lar” ... “best looking” ... “most agreeable” ... “most school spirit” ... and then there are superlative titles that generally suggest a more measured ac- knowledgement of de- monstrable leadership and a most serious fla- vor of adulation from fellow students, “Ac- complished Most for Class” ... and “MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED”. The latter two provide the context of this nar- rative.
In June, 1959, 181
seniors graduated from Lyman Hall High School. From this class and in the history of Lyman Hall High School never before and probably never again, were two members of a single graduating class, so closely attuned in friendship, chal- lenge and triumph in youth and throughout adult life as Donald Warzocha and Donald Curtis.
The closest of friends
since the early days of the
Wallingford Little League in
1953, they became and re-
main inseparable in legend and in life. Both were the epitome of unselfish, motivated and measurable leadership while at Lyman Hall. Despite their spectacular individual academic and athletic achievements, they placed their focus on serv- ing others as LHHS students and in a stratospheric dynamic as adults. So beloved were both young men in their class that they collected eight class superlative titles among them, never equaled in the 102 year history of the school by two closely knit classmates.
Consider this partial side-by-side narrative:
DONALD CURTIS “Big Don” – Promises Made
This Don was class Salutatorian, Vice President of the Student Council and Editor of the Literary Chronicle and yearbook. A three-sport standout, Don, as a co-captain of the football team (with Don Warzocha), and a first team All-State selection. As captain of the 1958-59 basketball team, he led the Blue & White to the State Class B Finals. In track, Curtis was undefeated in the shot, javelin and discuss, earning All- State recognition and held the state record for the longest throw in the javelin. Curtis was a dean’s list student at Tufts University, serving as captain of the football team.
DONALD WARZOCHA “Donny” – Promises Made
This Don was the President of the Class of 1959, an honor usher in 1958, Treasurer of the Student Council as a junior, Vice President of the Student Council as a senior, Captain of the baseball team, Co-Captain of the football team, and a starting forward on the basketball team that went to the state finals in 1959. Warzocha graduated with a degree in market- ing from the University of Connecticut where he played on the baseball and football teams. Additionally, Warzocha was as Air Force ROTC cadet and wing commander his senior year.
 Donald Warzocha
 Donald Curtis
Wallingford Magazine – Summer, 2019

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