Cafero Keeps Up Family Tradition
By FRANCIS X. FAY JR.
Hour Senior Writer
Thirty-five years ago this month, a young man went to the podium during commencement exercises of the Norwalk High School Class of 1975 and as president welcomed a large assemblage to the outdoor ceremony with a short speech that resonated with a maturity not often encountered at such events. The graduate would go on to an active role in society as a lawyer, school board member and chairman and for almost two decades one of this city’s representatives in the General Assembly.Such popularity would be enough for most lifetimes, except that House Minority Leader State Rep. Lawence F. Cafero Jr. was to marry his UConn sweetheart, Barbara Englert, a former head cheerleader and honor student St. Mary High School in Greenwich and still a longtime Xerox sales manager. And they would have three children, a daughter then two sons, all raised at the same address in Weed Avenue.
And unlikely as it might seem, each of those children have become president of respective classes at Brien McMahon High School, with the youngest and last, Nicholas, offering the president’s welcome Tuesday night for the Class of 2010.
“My wife and I worried when he first went to high school about shoes he would have to fill in the wake of his sister and brother, but he handled it very well,” said Cafero.
“I was aware of their worries, but I decided I would just be myself and let things evolve naturally,” Nicholas said.
The youngest of the trio was involved in the BMHS music program and will continue studying the art form at the University of Virginia. He plays a wind instrument, but he also stood out as the leading man in the BMHS spring production of “The Music Man” as a senior in his first crack at the stage.
Firstborn Jacqueline, president of the BMHS Class of 2004 who flew home from her job in London for her younger brother’s performance, was joined by brother, Christopher, president of the BMHS Class of 2006. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia after two years at George Washington University from which brother, Christopher, graduated last month.
Coincidentally, Cafero’s comic personality and gift of mimicry also brought him the presidency of major organizations at both the University of Connecticut and Western New England College School of Law. And as if that isn’t enough, a cousin of the Cafero clan, Jake Passero, gave the presidential welcome the night before for the Norwalk High School Class of 2010.
Cheering for his grandson at the BMHS ceremony, too, were 90-year-old grandfather Lawrence F. Cafero Sr., Ph.D., retired Norwalk middle school principal, and his wife, Helen.
“This is what life’s all about,” said Grandfather Cafero.