Proud parents, friends, relatives and supporters began filling up the bleachers at Cedar Grove High School as early as 6 p.m., trying to get the closest glimpse of the graduating class of 2012 for Friday's commencement of the 49th graduating class.
The crowd, armed with cameras, flowers, balloons and air horns, welcomed the graduates as they marched onto the field in the bright glow of the setting sun.
Mary Nittini, President of the All School Council was the first to address her classmates. Nittini welcomed the attendees, reminisced on several school events and described her class of 124 graduating seniors as “diverse.”
“Our class has students who have achieved academic greatness, who have won athletic championships and awards, students who have been a part of all-state choir and performed in Europe, students who go beyond themselves and volunteer in a plethora of ways and students involved in everything in between,” she said. “The thing that is most amazing to me is how our class has managed to take all of those distinct values and accomplishments and mold them into one unit that has worked together to create a memorable four years at Cedar Grove High School.”
Performances from the Cedar Grove High School Concert Band and Concert Choir included “As If We Never Say Goodbye” and “Circle of Life,” arranged by Mac Huff and “Quad City Stomp” arranged by Michael Sweeney.
Speeches included the Academic address, delivered by senior Candice Poon, the School and Community Involvement Address, delivered by senior Crystal Borbonus, commencement address, delivered by Principal Michael Fetherman, Superintendent's Address by Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles and Acceptance of the Class of 2012 by Board of Education President Frank Mandala.
“No matter how great the distance, no matter how much time lapses, each of you will stay connected by a common experience,” said Fetherman. “Cherish these memories and know that going separate ways cannot undo the bonds that hold you together.”
“As a group, you have endured a great deal,” he added. “But your best as individuals has yet to come.”
The seniors received their diplomas from faculty advisors to the class of 2012, Steven Gallagher and Vincent Cardiello to cheers, applause and the occasional air horn from the crowd, and were officially graduated.
“The greatest challenge as we move past Cedar Grove High School is to never become stagnant,” said Poon. “We must continually hold a thirst for knowledge and never stop being a student.”