Sometime around 7 o’clock Tuesday night, the “Wolf-Pack” shouted “Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever” that echoed throughout Johnston High School’s nearly-full auditorium.
The roaring cheer was the motto that the 21-member Class of 2017 adopted during its rugged and rigorous six weeks of training that culminated with Tuesday night’s highly-impressive graduation ceremony.
Moreover, the class adopted a wolf as his mascot, which attendees learned was rather appropriate, especially after watching a video of the recruit’s extraordinary efforts in the often grueling nightly training academy.
The Town of Johnston, meanwhile, took center stage Tuesday night as the Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs held its 2017 Recruit Training Academy Graduation, which featured a military-like ceremony filled.with pomp and circumstance and read like a Who’s Who in the state’s law enforcement community.
Col. Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and the Honorable Paul A. Suttell, Chief Justice of the Superior court of Rhode Island, delivered powerful and moving messages during the program.
“You are all special and unique,” Assumpico, who is the first-ever female to head the RI State Police, said. “You went to work during the day then left your families at night to attend the training academy. Please don’t ever forget where you came from to attain this honor.”
Kilmartin issued a similar statement and also emphasized and thanked each recruit’s family for their unwavering support while they attended the training academy en route to graduation that will lead to their becoming members of the Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs next year.
“You are all essential to today’s judiciary system,” Suttell told the graduates. “We have had a need for more sheriffs and you will play an important role in law enforcement in our state as well as our courtrooms.”
While Tuesday’s graduation ceremony was anchored around the 21-member Class of 2017, Johnston also became center stage for event which was arranged by the Sheriffs Department Administration and the JHS auditorium was made available through the efforts of Mayor Joseph Polisena with support from David Cournoyer, Director of Facilities for the town’s public schools.
Two Johnstonians, namely David M. DeCesare and Paul M. Martellini, were in the middle of the impressive program.
DeCesare, the former JPD Deputy Police Chief, is now RI’s Chief Sheriff while Martellini, who formerly served as North Providence Police Chief and Master of Ceremonies Tuesday night, is the Sheriffs Department Major.
The program began with a bagpipe player leading the Class of 2017 into the auditorium and three members of the Johnston High School Honors Select Choir – Emily Gaye, Lauren Papa and Matthew Eisemann – singing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
Rev. Angelo N. Carusi, Pastor at St. Rocco’s Church, gave the Invocation as well as the Benediction.
Two Johnston residents, Ashley J. Coutu and Nicodemus G. Manzotti, were members of the Class of 2017 that includes Steven D. Borino Jr., Jeffrey P. Cahoon, Michael P. Duhaime, Robert W. Fontaine, Sean M. Hannon, Joseph G. Hughes, John E. Kosowski III, Nicholas H. LePage, Andrew J. McDaniel, Christopher W. Miller, Bruce Orsini, Edward C. Papineau Jr. Curtis N. Perry, John V. Piluso, Ian M. Quinn, Mark I. Roman, Thomas A. Santurri, Devan J. Seddon and Josemar A. Silva.
Coutu, who graduate from La Salle Academy, is the daughter of Gene and Wendy Coutu and Manzotti, a 2011 JHS graduate, is the son of John and Cindy Manzotti, all of Johnston.
In keeping with the tradition of its recruit training academy graduation, the Sheriffs Department also presented individual awards beginning with the Class Valedictorian who was Papineau Jr., who also gave an impressive speech and presented DeCesare with the Class gift.
Other prestigious awards, which were presented by Capt. Jason D. Allaire, Commander of the Training Academy, went to Borino Jr., Firearms; LePage, Physical Fitness and Peer Recognition; and Seddon, Leadership.
“I am very, very proud of everyone in this class,” DeCesare said during his closing remarks. “You exemplified our [RI Sheriffs] motto: strength, perseverance and teamwork. Before the Training Academy began, we had 150 applicants and this great Class has 21 graduates.”