The rain might have kept them inside, but nothing could steal their thunder.
One hundred and eight years after the first Norwalk High School graduates received diplomas, the Class of 2010 did the same on a drizzly, overcast and humid Monday evening that forced commencement exercises into the gymnasium.
With the young men dressed in caps and gowns of green and women in white, relatives, friends, and loved ones filled bleachers, lined walls, and packed rows of folding chairs as they watched Norwalk High's latest batch of seniors move on to the next steps in their lives.
Sophomore Breana LaRochelle, who stood in the rear of the gym, beamed from ear to ear as she watched her sister Gina receive her diploma.
Gina will study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall.
And there was John Thompson, from South Carolina, who said oppressive heat and humidity are nothing new to him, but who stood just beyond the gym doors, in the relatively cool air of the school foyer anyway.
"I think he's given it his best shot, and I think he has enjoyed himself the whole four years," Thompson said of his stepson, graduate Cammann Piasecki.
Piasecki will go on to study at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the fall.
No matter whom you talked to inside Norwalk High School, all had come for one reason -- to celebrate the successes, triumphs and collective dedication of the Class of 2010.
"We arrived here, not knowing what to expect," said Valedictorian Jakub Michal Nowicki. "Now look at us....We celebrate our talents, and rejoice in each other's successes. Each of us worked hard -- very hard -- for this moment....We should live our lives to the fullest."
Salutatorian Eloise Ginsberg Libre told graduates theirs is a class of diversity, and of differences.
"No two people had the exact same experience," she said. "The amazing part is how all of these differences can come together to make the Class of 2010."
James Passero, class president, said, "I grew up in an environment where it was not uncommon to hear, `Why would you want to go to Norwalk High?' "
The answer to that, Passero said, lies in the energetic environment of a school that embraces camaraderie.
"Where else could you find a bunch of kids decked out in Harry Potter gear, running around on brooms and playing Quidditch?" he said to resounding applause. "I'm proud to stand up here and give this speech with a smile on my face. We are the answer to anyone who asks, `Why would you want to go to Norwalk High?' "
Nast told the graduating class it took $38.5 million dollars to get them to graduation day. And he said he recently asked a group of senior residents, who have been paying property taxes that support the city's public schools, what qualities they believe are most important in the leaders of tomorrow.
"They want you to be educated....They want you to have character....And they want you to get involved," Nast said. "Your successes are our successes."
School board chair Glenn Iannaccone said, "Stay focused on your goals, don't do anything crazy, and most importantly, don't forget where you came from."