Fitch graduation focuses on togetherness, making world a better place

Groton — After talking about sometimes walking the hallways feeling she had no idea what she's doing with her life, and after talking about the sting of a college rejection, Jamin Immer Importante held up a glass of water.

She commented that the weight of the glass doesn't matter; it matters how long you hold it — and she said the burdens of expectation are like a glass of water.

"As we step forward into our next stages of life, always remember: It is OK to put the glass down," Importante said.

She was one of two commencement speakers the graduation committee selected to address the Fitch High School Class of 2018 at the school's 88th graduation ceremony, held Friday evening at the school's Dorr Field.

Some speakers seemed to be bursting with glee, while others offered wisdom to students setting out into a rapidly changing world.

"All of you fill me with hope and confidence in our future and, boy, do I need that in these tough times," Superintendent Michael Graner said, after commending students for their responses to the Parkland shooting and to a racist incident.

Principal Joe Arcarese told the nearly 250 graduates that they have enough talent to make the world a better place, and that they shouldn't think they need to wait until they're smarter or have more money.

He rattled off a list of accomplishments for the class: There were nine All-State athletes and two All-State singers. There was a national wrestling champion and a National Merit Scholar. The robotics team qualified for the world championship for the fifth straight year. The marching band and choir were invited to participate in the 2019 London New Year's Day Parade and Festival.

Salutatorian Mathew Krick encouraged his peers to be open to trial and error, think about the problems that stand in their way and commit to solving those problems.

Valedictorian Mitchell Shapiro-Albert asked his classmates if they were present for life's moments, if they took risks and if they were dreaming big.

"I have a sneaking suspicion that life might get harder after graduation, because of course it will," he said sardonically.

Class President Cindy Fan, whose tireless efforts meant her class didn't have to pay any dues, got emotional as she said, "I will miss you all terribly. You guys mean so much to me."

Lily Johnson, the second commencement speaker, focused on all the things the class members did together.

"We have lost Fortnite together," she said, referring to a popular video game. "We have roasted and had rap battles together. We have rallied against that phone ban together. We have found ourselves through late-night essays, which we pushed back to the night before and still aced them, together."

Perhaps togetherness was best exemplified by the decorated caps of two students sitting next to each other, ones that read: "Do you have your exit buddy?" and "Yes, I have my exit buddy."

e.moser@theday.com

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