Traditions were at the head of the class Wednesday evening as members of the Fairfield Ludlowe High School Class of 2015 collected their diplomas — the bouncing beach balls, the brightly colored leis, the decorated caps and, of course, the graduates’ blue and white gowns.

A recommendation to have all Ludlowe graduates wear blue gowns at this year’s commencement earlier in the spring sparked a mini-controversy, but was quickly reversed by a vote of the 389 members of the senior class. Since the first Ludlowe commencement a decade ago after the high school was reopened, the boys have worn blue gowns for graduation and girls have been in white.

Not so traditional was the cool weather Wednesday. In recent years, an ambulance and tables of bottled water were stationed on Taft Field as a precaution because of stifling heat. This year, many in the audience were wishing they’d brought a sweater.

As she waited to receive her diploma, Caroline Yates said she was unsure what to expect when she heard her name called. But, she added, “I just realized, it’s all over.”

Her friend, Patrice Tsopanides, admitted she was really nervous — mostly because she was afraid she might trip as she walked across the stage. But, the future business major said, “I’m just really excited to start a new journey.”

The advice doled out to the graduates during the ceremony echoed a familiar theme, with exhortations that the graduates “be yourself” in future endeavors.

“Forge your own path and always keep learning, Matthew Dwelle, the valedictorian, told classmates. It is often better, he said, to not know exactly what the future might hold.

“We’re an amazing lot of young adults,” Dwelle said. “Your lives are yours to lead. All of you are weird in the best way possible.”

His classmates, he said, were responsible for “making these perfectly imperfect years magical.”

“Keep doing what you love,” Salutatorian Emily Cimmino said, “and your purpose will come naturally.”

No matter where they end up, Cimmino said, “the most important thing is you put your whole heart into it ... Never stop pursuing your passions.”

Class of 2015 president Matthew Peters said the graduates should strive to “be unique.”

“If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past four years, it’s be yourself,” Peters said. “I don’t think about how others see me; don’t let others dictate who you are.”

Peters also took advantage of his platform to announce that he was throwing his hat into the crowded 2016 presidential race. “I’m not 35, but trust me, it will work,” he said.

Social studies teacher Dianne Bourque, who delivered the commencement address, told the graduates’ parents they should be proud of their offspring. They proved themselves to be a compassionate group of students, Bourque said.

“They are truly an amazing group of humans,” Bourque said, willing to step out of their comfort zone to help others. During their sophomore year, Bourque recalled, her father died. In what was a hard time for her, “these kids, your children, were absolutely amazing.”

At the end of each school year, Bourque said, she asks her students to evaluate their experience at Ludlowe. “They spoke of their teachers and what attributes the truly great teachers they’ve had possess,” she said.

Those same attributes they admire in their teachers, Bourque said, they should strive for themselves. “I ask you to be passionate in whatever you do,” she said.

Be ready, she said, to change direction at a moment’s notice and find something positive on which to focus energy. And, she advised, “I ask you to take a moment and take in the world around you.”

The Class of 2015, Ludlowe Headmaster Greg Hatzis said, is one with “tremendous potential to make the world a better place.”