Nearly 100 Marist High School students entered into the next phase of their educational life following the school’s 57th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 31.
The afternoon was filled with pomp and circumstance, awards, words of encouragement, but also kisses, hugs, and tears. The midday ceremony was held in the school’s James J. Boyle Memorial Gymnasium.
Nearly all the students saw the day not as an ending, but as a beginning.
“It’s like a bittersweet feeling; I just can’t believe it’s over,” said Kayla Rowan, 18, of Bayonne. “I’ve been here four years, and now I’m looking forward to the next four years. Rowan will be attending Centenary College in Hackettstown in the fall.
“I love learning, so I’ll be getting a degree in one of my many passions,” said Class President Bri’Che Lynn, 18, of Jersey City. Lynn is on her way to Seton Hall University in South Orange, and though she’s undecided right now, she’s considering pre-law studies.
Valedictorian Maggie Farag, 17, of Jersey City, saw her high school graduation as a launching pad, setting the students on paths to bigger and greater successes.
“We all have potential, dreams, and desires. Nothing should hold us back from achieving the goals that we set for ourselves,” Farag said. “Venturing out and trying something different will only open more doors and lead to more opportunities.”
Salutatorian Ryan Williams, 18, of Roselle, thanked his parents, teachers, and friends for their support in his journey to an enriching high school career. He said the one thing he learned at Marist was the diversity of the world around him, and to be fascinated with it.
“If you look around this room, everyone you see here knows something that you don’t, and all you need to do is ask questions and take an interest in people,” Williams said. “We come from different cultures, languages, beliefs, and ideas, and they’re all worth knowing about.”
Perseverance and passion
Assistant Principal for Academics Christopher Cassaro said the senior class was a tight-knit group of students who got along together well and worked hard.
“The one trait that they all have is they all have perseverance,” Cassaro said. “There are always a lot of obstacles to overcome in high school. This group overcame a lot of them.”
Principal Alice Miesnik was tearful when giving her closing remarks, saying that when looking out on the assembled graduates she saw only great things awaiting them.
“It’s a sea of passion, a sea of success, a sea of young people ready to take on the world,” Miesnik said.
Schools and scholarships
All the Marist graduates will go on to post-secondary education, including 87 colleges in 18 states and Washington, D.C., according to Cassaro.
Among the schools the students will be attending are the University of South Florida, and Pennsylvania State, Northeastern, and Pace universities. Local schools include the Stevens Institute of Technology, and Monmouth, Rutgers, Montclair, St. Peter’s and New Jersey City universities.
More than $5 million in scholarships, grants, and financial aid were awarded to the Marist graduates, Cassaro said.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at: JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.