NEWINGTON - Class of 2019 Salutatorian Eric Venables is on to climbing his next mountain.
The Newington High School senior will be graduating alongside his classmates next Monday, June 17, inside the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. Class leaders typically give speeches during the commencement ceremony and Venables is putting the finishing touches on his address.
“I’m pretty nervous,” he explained. “I have a large audience I have to captivate. There will probably be over 1,000 people with the class and everyone’s families. I want to say something meaningful.”
After the gold tassel on his graduation cap is flipped to the other side, Venables has a big summer ahead. The Newington native is planning to attend the University of Connecticut this fall.
“I’d like to say I’m doing a bunch of crazy activities this summer, but I really don’t have much planned,” he said. “I want to relax, spend time with friends and have experiences I’m going to remember. Do activities that are meaningful to me and constructive to my character.”
He estimated about 15 to 20 of his friends will be joining him at UConn, since a large number of Class of 2019 members are heading there and to other state schools.
Venables says he will major in civil engineering, but that he’d also like to incorporate music into his studies somehow.
“I play seven instruments,” he said. “Tuba, trombone, trumpet, piano ... and I sing. Singing is my favorite.”
As a freshman he played in the pit orchestra during the school’s drama productions. The following year he got a part in a musical and he’s been involved with the Drama Club ever since.
“There’s just so much opportunity to make friends,” Venables said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
He’s also one of the track team captains, specializing in shot put and discus. With a full schedule of five Advanced Placement courses this year - in addition to band and choir - Venables needed another outlet.
“It gives me a way to unload physically and stay in shape,” he pointed out.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or email@example.com.