In black and white caps adorned with orange tassels, the Class of 2009 from Memorial High School in West New York was graduated on Monday, June 15.
Hundreds of faculty, family, and friends gathered at the West New York Middle School gymnasium for the ceremony at 6 p.m.
The procession, accompanied by the West New York Police Department’s Honor Guard and professional bagpipe players, included 383 graduates.
“This moment is what we have been waiting for since we walked in as freshman,” said salutatorian Cristian Turcios. “This moment proves we can achieve anything we pursue.”
Valedictorian Jusselia Molina also addressed the crowd with a hopeful message for the future.
“Remember the dash between our birth and death is the beautiful journey,” she said. “Class of 2009, all I want you to know is that no matter how difficult your journey may be, never give in. Take on life; take on the responsibility and possibility of your greatest dream. Today, my friends, our journey really begins, and I, for one, can not wait.”
During the ceremony, Mario Tano, the class president, took part in a school tradition, the presentation of the lamp of learning, and passed it on to the next class president, Edwin Lantigua.
The high school band and chorus also performed, and a select male a cappella group sung “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye” by Boyz II Men.
Amanda Staab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.