Trumbull High School’s Class of 2013 collected their diplomas Thursday night, but not without a few words of wisdom from school and town officials and fellow classmates.

“How do we claim our place in a world that never stays the same,” Trumbull High School Valedictorian Vishakha Negi asked a sea of black caps and gowns gathered on the football field Thursday evening.

The graduating class, who donned a new style of graduation gown, made from recycled material, added some flair to their graduation looks by decorating their caps with everything from glitter, paint, feathers and even a plastic dinosaur.

Negi urged her classmates to use their gifts and “grit.” She also asked the Class of 2013 to make an effort to be more aware of the world around them and not get swallowed up by pop culture. Her final piece of advice: “it's not all about you.” She said students should give their time help others.

“For those who don’t want to help, you don’t have to,” she said. “Just don’t hurt anybody.”

Class President Christopher LoBosco couldn't resist taking a few jabs at the eight-year construction project at Trumbull High School.

“We are all the construction workers of our own lives,” LoBosco said. “Although we may be more productive and thinner than the ones we are use to seeing.”

LoBosco said that its fitting that construction is finally wrapping up as the seniors move on, likening the high school as a place where students built a foundation and honed the tools to take them to the next part of their lives.

Salutatorian Michael A. Cydylo took some lessons from childhood rhymes and stories.

“All the construction and all the men couldn't put Trumbull High School back together again,” Cydylo joked, playing on a nursery rhyme.

Cydylo also quoted a Shel Silverstein poem: “Anything can happen child, anything can be,” he read.

Retirements

The graduation was the final commencement ceremony for both Trumbull Superintendent Ralph Iassogna and Principal Robert Tremaglio. Both are retiring this year and received standing ovations from the seniors and the crowd.

Iassogna urged the class to shape their own destiny and never compromise their integrity.

“You are our future and our future is bright,” Iassogna said.

Tremaglio said serving as principal has been the highlight of his career and he left students with his advice to “care enough to make something count.”

“Don't let technology de-personalize your life,” Tremaglio said. “Cultivate your relationships and cultivate kindness.”

First Selectman Timothy Herbst and Board of Education Chairman Stephen Wright both charged the class with becoming leaders.

Wright said schools around the state envy the education received at Trumbull High School and cited the long list of academic and athletic achievements among the graduating seniors.

“Never underestimate the impact you are capable of having,” he said.

He said the talents of Trumbull students are desperately needed to lead the country in the future.

“This world is void of true leadership,” Wright said.

Herbst also encouraged students to change society and inspire others.

“The most sacred thing you have is your name and reputation,” Herbst said.

He said students needed an ethical character — which he described as what you do when no one is watching — and the ability to inspire others to follow your lead.

“You don't need a title to be a leader,” Herbst said.