Jun 18, 2016 5:31 PM

Concord High and retiring Principal Gene Connolly celebrate graduation

CONCORD - Students at Concord High School graduated Saturday with the usual pomp and circumstance -- but also to a heartfelt speech from their beloved Principal Gene Connolly who is retiring after 14 years at the helm of the school.

Connolly, who was using a wheelchair, has continued to inspire the school community while battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehring's disease.

With the help of a voice synthesizer -- and when that failed, the voice of a school colleague -- Connolly praised faculty, parents and the CHS Class of 2016.

"The Concord community should be proud of its culture of inclusion. I have worked in other communities, and Concord is head and shoulders ahead," he said. "You are a class that is defined by your leadership; no one has had to tell you right from wrong."

Concord students and the broader community rallied around Connolly from the time he first announced he'd been diagnosed with ALS.

Students wore buttons Saturday to show their support for their long-time school principal.

Meanwhile, two Concord brothers are biking across the U.S. to raise money for the treatment and potential cure of the fatal disease.

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