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Groton — As assistant principal Sean McKenna was midway through introducing former Congressman Rob Simmons during Friday night's graduation ceremony at Fitch High School, Simmons cut him off.
"It's not about me," he cried out, to massive applause from the about 320 graduates and their families, friends and supporters. "It's about you!"
Simmons, who had been running for Senate until days after the state's Republican convention, told the graduating class that they had to work hard to succeed.
He said that though the senior class was entering a world with many challenges–including a bad economy and two wars in the Middle East — they face a plight similar to their parents and grandparents, who lived through wars and depressions of their own.
"Give thanks to the fact that you are moving into a world of freedom and opportunity where you can earn your own success," Simmons said.
Valedictorian John Pothier said he wanted to give a speech about the memories and experiences of high school, not one filled with platitudes and inspirational quotations.
"I've decided that, instead of going on endlessly about graduation, sprinkling in inspirational metaphors and cliches straight from every commencement speech ever given, I think it's better to rather look back on our days in high school and reminisce, laugh, cry, blush and let out the biggest sigh of relief that we're finally out, yet still fondly looking in at our good times."