STAMFORD, Conn. -- As Betty Exumé waited for the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering graduation ceremony to begin Tuesday in Stamford, she said her son's first day of school is as fresh as ever.
"It's amazing to see him here now. I still remember the first day of kindergarten," she said of her son Bervens Joachim, who was one of the proud members of AITE's Class of 2016.
Joachim, just like his classmates, is moving on to new challenges and adventures. He will attend the University of New Haven to be a music industry major.
Student Kiana Nowlin reflected on how she arrived at AITE despite her initial desire to attend Westhill High School. In her speech, she said AITE is uniquely qualified to prepare students for post-secondary education and she said a large part of the school's success is due to its teachers, who "go above and beyond for their students."
Nowlin will attend UConn-Storrs to study health sciences.
Student Council President Tanusri Balla, who was one of 160 American high school to be chosen as a U.S. Presidential Scholar this year, said the graduating class have met challenges head on.
"We are passionate. AITE has offered us so many options, from engineering to the biomedical field to business and to art, and we have taken advantage of them," she said. "We have explored the possibilities for our future and now our creations and works of art line the walls of our school. We have made our mark."
Balla will attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she will study bio engineering and business.
Stamford Mayor David Martin gave out some advice to the graduates, including health advice that initially caused some laughter until he explained his advice.
"I'm telling you to wear sunscreen," he said referring to his bout with melanoma earlier this year. "The broader message is: take care of yourself."
AITE is an interdistrict magnet high school serving students from Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk and Ridgefield as well as Stamford, and other communities in southwestern Fairfield County