FAIRFIELD — It was a sunny summer day with scattered clouds as seniors from Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe High School took their seats at their respective schools for a moment of celebration before they embark on their own ventures in the coming months.

Last Friday, 781 high school seniors from Warde and Ludlowe received their diplomas before walking through their campus for one last time.

For Niam Kothari, the Fairfield Warde High School valedictorian, his speech at graduation was a unique chance to say goodbye to the friends and people with whom he had spent the last four years.

“You don’t really get that type of opportunity,” Kothari, 18, who will attend Duke University, said. “The main focus of my speech was that there’s more to everybody than we think ... we should take the time to get to know somebody.”

Kothari’s own experience was part of his message: last summer, a classmate sent him a text asking if they could get to know him. The gesture itself, while small, was a powerful way in reaching out and meeting others — something he wanted his former classmates to carry with them into the future.

Along Kothari, Jessica Richards was recognized as Warde’s salutatorian.

Warde Headmaster David Ebling celebrated what would be the 41st graduation of his career and also his last one as head of the school.

“It was a beautiful evening in so many ways,” Ebling, who retires on July 31, said. “Friday night was certainly one of the highlights and very emotional as my last one.”

According to Ebling, Warde High School saw 398 students join their alumni ranks: over 90 percent will be seeking a higher education degree as others join the military and the workforce.

“As we leave the halls of Fairfield Warde High School together tonight, let us be reminded of all those wonderful times we shared together. We all know Warde is a special place!,” Ebling said in a message to the high school seniors.

Ludlowe High School saw 383 students graduate last week, according to Vanessa Montorsi, director of pupil services and counseling at the high school.

Sravan Parimi was the Ludlowe valedictorian and Josh Schaffer and Amber Smith were co-salutotatorians.

“Graduation was great, especially being surrounded by all the people who helped me get to where I am,” Parimi, who is going to Georgia Tech to study computer science, said. “It was bittersweet, I’ve really enjoyed my time here and it couldn’t have been better.”

Schools Superintendent Toni Jones, who is in her last two weeks before starting as superintendent in Greenwich, said graduation is a reminder of why she loves her work.

“It could not have been a more beautiful afternoon,” Jones said. “I hope our Fairfield public school students leave us knowing that they determine their destiny and that they are absolutely prepared for the celebrations and challenges which will come their way.”

humberto.juarez@

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