Platt Technical High School Salutatorian Galilea Yanza told her class during graduation that she aimed to keep her message brief.

She did, but she still managed to deliver a powerful message. Galilea told her fellow graduates not to just focus on their academic achievements, or to judge the rest of the world by theirs.

She quoted Albert Einstein, saying, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

…”And it’s not,” she added.

Platt Technical High School held its 2016 graduation ceremony Wednesday, June 15, at Southern Connecticut State University.

Principal Scott Zito kicked off the ceremony by reading a long list of awards the graduating class received, and honoring them for their achievements. State Reps. Pam Staneski and Charles Ferraro were among the evening’s speakers. Staneski told the students to follow a map to their futures, the same way they use a GPS to navigate travel or to find their way in a shopping mall.

“You have to choose to succeed,” she added. “It doesn’t just happen.”

Ferraro urged the graduates to “take action” and to be heroes in their own lives.

The ceremony included several musical performances by students, accompanied by the Platt Faculty Band. Principal Zito, a musician who has performed with some big names like Grace Slick, stood behind the students, accompanying them on the keyboard.

Class Valedictorian Joseph Lanche helped bring the ceremony toward a close with a list of thanks and a message to his fellow graduates.

He reminded the class that they were their strongest when they came together as a community, and he advised them that as they start their lives, they should toss out any pre-printed maps and create a map of their own.