NEW CANAAN -- New Canaan High School's Class of 2012 may have been apprehensive about stepping onto the sizzling turf for Wednesday's commencement ceremony, but they were anxious to make the next step in their lives.
"Really excited about today. Not too happy about the heat," said Matt Blasco, who will attend St. Joseph's University this fall. "I'm excited for it all to be over and looking forward to the summer."
"It's nice to look back at all of our accomplishments. It's been a good four years. Not looking forward to heat on that turf, though," Brainard said.
"We're definitely happy about today but it's also time to grow up a little bit and move forward. It's time to be a little serious," Walker said. "Definitely excited though and confident about the future."
"It's tough to know that it's all over here. I'm also dreading this heat," he said.
It wasn't just the students who were celebrating their last year in New Canaan. Superintendent David Abbey, who announced his retirement earlier this year, was the subject of more than a couple of speeches.
First Selectman Rob Mallozzi told students their diplomas would be collectibles because it's the last set bearing Abbey's signature.
"Dr. Abbey's a legend in the field of education. Not just here in town but throughout the state and across the country," Mallozzi said. "A tireless hero for education, you folks are the recipients of his determination, his vision and his passion."
This year's commencement speaker was New Canaan High School social studies teacher Stephen Vehslage. He focused much of his speech on self-awareness.
"Listen to your life," he said. "Where are you and where do you want to go? Those seem like the right questions to me. You should keep asking them."
He encouraged everyone to have a positive attitude moving forward regardless of the situation.
"It's an incredibly different thing to do to see yourself clearly. You have to try to be totally conscious of what bores you, what pains you, what excites you and what inspires you," Vehslage said. "I've been teaching for a long time now and I'm not just saying this. You all are a great class. You've got so many talents and such energy and potential. We should proud of what you've accomplished, especially today. So look at your life and use that heightened awareness to find your own way."