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Stamford's AITE Celebrates As 158 Students Graduate

Andrew Baron, left, and Marc Grasso, added some style to their mortarboards. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Ted Lionetti Jr., is accompanied by proud family members, from left, father Ted Sr., Ryan, his mother Sue and Katelynn. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Friends gather for a photograph before the AITE graduation ceremony. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Mariliana Cubur, left, and Danielle Castellucci. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
AITE students make some last-minute preparations before the graduation exercises. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Anthony Gentile taking a bite out of his mortarboard. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Shanna Mattson, left, and Alfiya Kothawala. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Marbin Amaya, left, and Frank Hlebogiannis. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Students and guests at the AITE graduation Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- On the last day that the Class of 2015 was together, student government President Marc Raub thanked his fellow graduates of Academy of Information Technology & Engineering for their help.

“You have all been a crutch for me to lean on,” he said during his speech at the graduation ceremonies Wednesday afternoon for the 158 students. "The motto for this school year was 'Make a difference,' and we certainly did. I am very proud to say I am a graduate of the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering."

Students gathered informally for the last time as a class in front of the entrance to the Rippowam school auditorium where the ceremonies were held.

Among the graduates were Andrew Baron and Marc Grasso, who displayed intriguing additions to their mortarboards. Baron had a miniature castle on top of his while Gasso had a birdhouse with a stuffed bear.

“Just for fun,” Baron said when asked why they did it. "For no particular reason."

There were a couple of verbal faux pas in the graduation that added to the light-hearted tone that Raub set.

Raub made one as he introduced Dolores Burgess, the Board of Education secretary as the BOE's security, which drew laughs. Raub, with a smile, made sure he introduced Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton properly as he carefully and slowly said her name and title.

Hamilton created the second one when in her prepared remarks she referred to the graduates as Westhill students, eliciting a low murmur of disapproval that caused her to turn to the other dignitaries in momentary confusion to ask what she said. She rebounded and quickly offered a "mea culpa," which was a reference to the famous Latin phrase "Veni, Vidi, Vici - I came, I saw, I conquered," the students had also adopted as a saying during the school year.

Burgess told the graduates that they are a diverse group and that will be a necessary skill in a changing world.

"In fact we can say you have earned a master's degree in diversity. I give you all an 'A'," she said.

Mayor David Martin could not attend due to a trip to the city's sister city of Lima, Peru, but his chief of staff, Michael Pollard said the mayor sent his best wishes to the Class of 2015 at AITE.

"He is so incredibly proud of you as graduates,” Pollard said.

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