The more than 300 members of the Darien High School Class of 2015 celebrated their last hours together Tuesday evening with repeated encouragement to build off their accomplishments and collective experience.

“We’re an incredibly accomplished class but what inspires me the most is our ability to work together and inspire each other,” Valedictorian Nicolai Ostberg said of the students’13-year public school journey. “An African proverb says if you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk together. Over the last four years we have really walked together.”

Building his comments around a baseball metaphor, Ostberg, president of the Darien High School Community Council and school swim team, remembered a pivotal life moment when his baseball coach Rick Stewart told him to “swing the bat.” The advice has become the axiom Ostberg often resorts to at moments of doubt.

“Good things happen when you swing the bat,” Ostberg said. “I’ve had those words framed on my desk and been looking at them for the last four years. What I realized is that when I swung the, bat I was taking chances instead of waiting for ball four to get a walk.”

Ostberg addressed his classmates during the Class of 2015’s 90-minute graduation ceremony in the auditorium of Darien High School Tuesday night as students received their diplomas and parting wisdom from faculty and class leaders on how to lead well-rounded lives.

Addressing his classmates, Ostberg, who will attend Stanford University, observed they had all seized opportunities in the past four years, sometimes risking failure by overcoming their fears.

“We have all in our unique way taken advantage of opportunities at DHS; there are countless examples of trying to swing the bat,” Ostberg said. “If you are not afraid to fail and not afraid to swing at the wrong pitch, I believe you’ll be happier for it.”

Co-Salutarian Melanie Turner said students should take pains to achieve so-called “great things,” not be rooted in generic ideas of material success.

Turner, who will attend the University of Virginia, pointed to her senior internship at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, where she speaks to people in the twilight of their lives. Most often they tell Turner about family moments as the most important, rarely dwelling on what most would consider professional accomplishments.

“They talk about moments that never made it onto a resume, job application, but that are clearly lasting hallmarks of a great life,” Turner said.

In concluding remarks, Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn told the class she was proud to have witnessed so many of them become poised and accomplished young adults. She said she asked the students to look beyond what can seem like a relentless emphasis on grades and other quantitative measures imposed on them when valuing themselves.

“Adults love data, we believe they tell us a story,” Dunn said. “But remember when you leave they only tell part of the story. You are not a number. You are kind to those who need a helping hand, you are problem-solvers.”

Three retiring teachers were awarded honorary diplomas in recognition of their cumulative tenure, which exceeded more than 100 years, Dunn said.

The teachers were Tom Zawacki, who taught Spanish for 30 years; Charlene Robbie Riordan, a Latin and French teacher; and Social Studies and History Department Coordinator Jean Shortliffe who has been at the school for 37 years.

“As History and Social Studies coordinator for the past 21 years you have taken seriously your role to recruit the very best teachers,” Dunn said. “You have been integral to the many exciting curriculum expansions in the department.”

After the ceremony, senior Mia Pesa said she is excited to be attending Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and will be performing over the summer in the American Ballet Theater.

She said she is grateful to Darien High School for having such strong academics and to administrators for giving her enough flexibility in her class schedule to pursue her interest in dance.

“I’m very excited and feel like Darien High School prepared us very well for college and the future,” Pesa said.