The future may be a scorcher, but 's Class of 2012 graduates need to stay cool and follow their hearts, commencement speakers said at Tuesday evening's ceremony.
As if to drive home the point, temperatures were forecast to reach as high as 100 degrees fahrenheit on Wednesday.
But people need to work to work together during the tough times, said Valedictorian Daniel J. Bond, who has a twin brother. Everyone has a "pseudo-twin," or a best friend to whom they are attached.
"A true twin is someone that has become an inseperable part of your life," he said.
"Think about your best friend. Your twin of choice is one of the most important people in your life," he said. "A true friend can help you be your best."
He also encouraged people to help others be their best. "Have you reciprocated the act of friendship?", he asked.
Tina P. Lapsia, salutatorian, said "life is a like a remote control." A remote control can be used to rewind to review experiences. She recalled the classes successes in sports and academic competitions, from Marching Band wins to victory in the "We the People" Constitution competition.
"We have produced an inspiring story for [future classes]," she said.
"It's now up to you to decide what you want to do next. The power is right in your fingertips. It's time to take control and write your own screenplay to life," she concluded.
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Board of Education Chairman Stephen Wright praised the graduates. "I'm impressed. You are role models for all of us," he said. "Let me be among the first to thank you and congratulate you."
He criticize the state of education today as one that "measures failure and neglects progress."
Teachers need to be regarded as highly as doctors, according to Wright.
"Teachers are the real job creators ... Promise me you will never forget your teachers and what they have done for you," the chairman said.
He had several pieces of advice for the graduates. "Do not be concerned with your shadow on the wall. Be your own hero. Follow your inner voice, the compass of your spirit," he said.
Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna said coach of the New York Giants football team has the right message: finish what you start.
First Selectman Tim Herbst called on the class to overthrow materialism and a culture of entitlement. "Hard work and determination are the essential building blocks," he added.
He also asked the graduates to take risks and not fear failure. "No one truly achieves success without taking a risk. I would not be standing here without take a risk in 2009," he said. Herbst was elected in 2009.
The first selectman urged students to value face-to-face conversations over computer interactions on Twitter and Facebook. A person's name and reputation are the two "most precious treasures," Herbst said.
"Because of your efforts, the world will be a better place," he concluded.