Fitch High School's Class of 2021 heads into the future to be "achievers and fighters"
Groton — Robert E. Fitch High School Commencement Speaker Nanayaa Asantewaa Ali said Friday that as she looks at fellow members of the Class of 2021, she sees young adults heading into the future to be achievers and fighters.
"And I didn't just see that today," she said. "I saw this during the whole year of struggles as we pushed past the negative and made a positive, and each one of you should be proud to be here today with your head held high to graduate."
She quoted Malcolm X in saying, "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."
The 218 graduates of Robert E. Fitch High School's Class of 2021, dressed in red caps and gowns, received their diplomas on the high school football field on the breezy evening, as family members and friends cheered and applauded them.
Valedictorian Samantha Maiolo said the Class of 2021 has many great opportunities ahead and invited the graduates to accept and embrace change.
“For some of us, the idea of college, working, or the military, is very scary and it’s a new chapter in our lives, but take those risks,” she said. “Join a new club in college, apply for those higher positions and, above all keep, challenging yourself. We have the knowledge and power to become the people we want to be.”
Class President Xavion Quito said everything the class has been through during the pandemic “just made us realize the importance of living life in the moment, and enjoying everything happening around us.”
Quito said he learned at Fitch the importance of perspective: “Trust me; it’s hard seeing long term when all we know is now," he said. "But listen; I know that we’ll do good in life, all we have to do is believe in ourselves in order to achieve those moments that we’ll never forget.”
Superintendent Susan Austin welcomed faculty and staff, Board of Education members, dignitaries, town and city officials and her "good friend, colleague and predecessor, your superintendent for the past eight years, Dr. Michael Graner," to applause.
Austin then welcomed family and friends of the Class of 2021 and "most importantly, the reason we are gathered here in person and remotely": the Fitch High School Class of 2021.
"We are so proud of you," Austin said. "The past couple of years have been an overcoming of adversity, climbing mountains, learning valuable lessons in and out of classrooms, while building lifelong friendships. Your graduation is a victory. It’s a privilege to stand before you and say congratulations on your victory."
Principal Edward Keleher said the entire faculty and staff will miss the Class of 2021 and is proud of the graduates.
"We will not forget your spirit, your enthusiasm and your genuine love for one another," he said.
For a gallery of more photos from the graduation ceremony, click here.
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