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As superintendent of the Ellington Public Schools, Dr. Scott Nicol is proud to co-create with students, teachers, parents, administrators and the community to build a culture of learning that challenges and inspires all students on their personalized educational journey. Before he came to Ellington in 2015, Dr. Nicol served as the Executive Director of Performance Management for the Hartford Public Schools. He has served as a principal for Regional School District #13 (Durham and Middlefield), an assistant principal for the Vernon Public Schools, and a history teacher for Regional School District #8 (Hebron, Andover and Marlborough). A graduate of nearby Rockville High School, Dr. Nicol received his undergraduate degree from Providence College and holds a doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Nicol resides in Portland with his wife, Heather, and two sons, Carson and Reese.

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Free Will: The Dawning of a New Age

Dr. Scott V. Nicol, Superintendent of Schools

Ellington High School Commencement

June 11, 2021

Board of Education Chair Jennifer Dzen, Members of the Board of Education, First Selectman Lori Spielman, Members of the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, family, students, staff, and of course, the Ellington High School Graduating Class of 2021.

I welcome you all.

It is an honor to stand here before you. To see all of your smiling faces congregating together here at Ellington High School brings me great joy.

Your journey through the Ellington Public Schools is coming to an end, but your journey is only beginning; it's a transition to a new age in your lives. At the dawn of this new age, you will have many choices before you.

The ability to choose your own path is the basic tenet of free will.

So what will guide you through these choices? For many they gather their inspiration from family, friends, mentors, religion, academic studies, spirituality, music, and yes, even astrology.

For those Baby Baby Boomers - who may be familiar - the song entitled the Age of Aquarius sung by the 5th Dimension (released in 1969) blends some of these inspirations with concepts that characterize the dawning of a new age.

Harmony and understanding

Sympathy and trust

And, the liberation of one's mind

As we are now in the Age of Aquarius - the prior cycle, the Age of Pisces, references a world we are leaving behind, built on power, money and control.

Conversely - the Age of Aquarius represents a more optimistic time, built on cooperation, humanitarianism and peace. I know which one I choose to center my goals on.

Now - here is the catch - Class of 2021. The choices before you will determine what the future holds for you and your classmates. And whether you are aware of it or not - the Ellington High School Class of 2021 - are prepared for how to choose wisely:

You are allowed to choose how you feel and what you think

You can look to the Seeds of Civility whenever you're dealing with a difficult conversation

Without judgement - it's ok to act with emotion. You can be sad for 5 minutes or 5 years - you choose

It has prepared you to decide what and who to believe

You may elect your local, state and national representatives - if you choose to participate

You have been taught to discern information in your choice of sources - including the mainstream media

You can decide whether to go it alone or with others - I suggest you choose wisely

And, you can choose what that American Flag means to you

Keep in mind that your loved ones, teachers, friends, classmates - the Ellington Family - will continue to support you - unconditionally - as your new age has its dawn.

As Superintendent of the Ellington Public Schools, I hereby certify that each student here before you this evening has satisfactorily completed the high school requirements for graduation as required by Connecticut State Board of Education and as prescribed by the Ellington Board of Education.

By the powers vested in me by the Ellington Board of Education let us award high school diplomas by reading the names of the members of the Ellington High School Class of 2021 on this 11th day of June 2021.

Thank you

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