St. Paul graduates 59

It's a given that the St. Paul High School class of 2010 was extra-special to the family members and friends who have supported them. But these 59 graduates also hold a special place in the hearts of principal Jim Tokarsky and Norwalk Catholic School president Walt Klimaski, though the two educators have witnessed plenty of graduations and have more to come.
Susan McMillan
May 31, 2010


It's a given that the St. Paul High School class of 2010 was extra-special to the family members and friends who have supported them.

But these 59 graduates also hold a special place in the hearts of principal Jim Tokarsky and Norwalk Catholic School president Walt Klimaski, though the two educators have witnessed plenty of graduations and have more to come.

"We started together in the fall of 2006 at St. Paul High School," Tokarsky told the seniors, moments before they became alumni. "Soon you will be leaving me, and as I told you, normally I don't care that seniors leave me, but I'm actually starting to miss you already."

Tokarsky said he had three things to tell the class: always keep Pepto-Bismol on hand, take advantage of parents' guidance and assurance and that "you as my first class, you have defined what being a St. Paul student means to me, what it is all about."

Klimaski started his job about the same time Tokarsky did, and he, too, said his praise of the class of 2010 is not perfunctory.

"Your class is one I would like to see stay here a little bit longer," he said, his voice catching. "For me the bottom line is this: I've loved watching you live your life and enjoy each other."

The graduation ceremony began with a baccalaureate Mass, and valedictorian Amber Welfle and salutatorian Kaylee Bundschuh addressed the graduates and audience.

Welfle also was awarded the Bishop's Cross, an honor for students who excel in their religious studies and display character and leadership. Nicholas Tuttle was awarded the other Bishop's Cross.

After class president Clairice Hinckley led the new alumni in switching their tassles, and the audience sang the alma mater, the graduates spilled onto the front steps of St. Paul Catholic Church.

They counted down from five and threw their caps into the air, and then several of the young men lit up cigars.

Hinckley, who is going to the University of Dayton to study business, said she'll always remember her time playing cymbals in the marching band and going on religious retreats.

"I'm read to move on with the next chapter, but I'm also sad to leave everyone behind," she said. "I did the tassel switch, and I was just thinking of how many memories I have with my class.

Bob Simon, himself a graduate of St. Paul, watched with pride as his son went to talk with the Marine recruiter who attended. Alex Simon ships out for Marine Corps training in three weeks.

"He joined up three days after his 17th birthday," Simon said. "As the time gets closer it'll get real hard, but it's something he's always wanted to do, his lifelong dream. So we'll try to support him as best we can."


columbus avenue

Nice...REAL nice.  SMOKING on the steps of the school.  Low low low.  Thank God they don't teach them about CANCER at St. Paul's.  Gotta keep those doctors in business.





A new low for the Register...a photo of teenagers smoking on school grounds! A Catholic school at that! Did the reporter ask for ID to verify the boys were over 18? Is the Register now endorsing teenagers breaking the law? Very bad lack of judgement on this one.


OMG....I actually think that photo was taken on the CHURCH steps! Please correct me if I an wrong!

swiss family

  yes.. it is true that it is a tradition at St. Paul's seniors to smoke cigars with each other... they also have a tradition of working hard, helping the community, and learning to be respectful and respectable  parts of our will notice too, that they are smoking AFTER they have graduated.. so you can not kick them out of might not be in the best "light" to do this in the eyes of so many petty, sniveling crybabies that are commenting, but the way I see it, they are now graduates, and this is the last bit of time that they will have the chance to celebrate and relax with the friends they have been in school, sports, classes, and activities with for the last 12 years.. so if they are now graduated from high school, and  many will soon leave on their separate journey to either college, or work, or the military, so if they want to light up a big old cigar to celebrate.. by all means, go ahead , and with my blessings!

  unfortunately, we have seen many tragic events this past year in the local schools, car accidents, rapes, drugs, hit lists, etc.. and these kids have made it to the end..and I congratulate them for that.. it would be and is so easy to drop out when you feel bored, or lazy...but they pushed through that..they are not smoking dope, or drinking alcohol on the steps, and they are not doing it in the confines of a tent on some parents back lot, where they are asking for trouble

  if the school or the church, teachers, priests nuns, or even the secretaries were handing out the cigars, I would have a problem with that as you all do, but that is not the case.. I think people need to get the sticks out of their......and let the graduates celebrate a job well done........  good job class!!!!


My problem with the boys smoking the cigars was first, that it is illegal to smoke under the age of 18. Are ALL the boys over 18? Second, that is was being done either at the school or the church. Total lack of respect. And as for your comment that I am a petty, sniveling crybaby, I am a mom of two high school children and I would NOT want my child showing that kind of disrespect. I know kids will be kids, but I hope I have raised my children to have respect for their church. That they would have the class not to light up, as you say, on church grounds. Bottom line is, are the boys of legal age to be smoking those cigars?

columbus avenue

Hey Swiss Family,  GOOD LUCK to your endorsement of their smoking!  You might want to print out the name and address of a convenient Oncology Clinic for them to keep in their pockets when they develop cancer of the gums, lips, stomach, lung etc.  ENJOY!


PS:  Smoking a cigar is not like smoking a is like smoking TEN CIGARETTES.


Thanks for your adult approach to this issue!

swiss family

  I am not endorsing a life long  habit of smoking cigars.. what I am saying though is that  although it is a nasty habit with some serious consequences after a long history of abuse, or even short history,, but I highly doubt that one victory cigar will cause any harm, but it will provide a lifelong memory  and bonding  ceremony with you fellow classmates for possibly the last time.

  in much the same way that encouraging someone into having some highly caloric cake, and fat filled dose of ice cream for their celebratory birthday tradition, is not encouraging them to continue a life long habit of that without some serious health issues in their future..  this is one time, one moment in their life's history.. it is a time to celebrate, and also a transitional gap, between being protected by your school, teachers, parents and those restrictions, to going into a new phase of being on their own, somewhere, in the military, in school, in a career, or marriage or any combination of all of these. enjoy the moment... celebrate the day!! and forever hold special of this memory of an act of both defiance, and elation... yes, some will find it offensive, some tasteless.. but isn't that what makes it so memorable???how many actual biology, math English,etc classes do you have actual memories of.. when all went according to plan??? probably none.. but think back on your school years..and somehow the knowledge just happened through a lot of forgettable studying..but the memories  are from , gathering to make your float for the parade, the fun you had doing goofy things at practice for you class play, the interaction that you had with your team mates, both working and having fun, and winning, and even losing... and when someone did something unexpected in class, or in the cafeteria, or now doing something expressive after the graduation.. you could have been "robotic-ally" good, and you could have stayed solemnly poised for the pictures, but  you decided to throw your caps in the air, and smoke a cigar... no harm, no foul...enjoy the memory  they do say that at the end of your life it is not what it is that you did do that you will regret.. it is what you didn't do!!!