Hats Off to the Class of 2011

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The Class of 2011 took their final steps onto the Harborfields High School field on Saturday, June 25 at the district’s 52nd  Commencement Ceremony. As a class of achievers, all students walked in with their heads high to enormous applause and praise by parents, family and peers. The ceremony was laced with special performances by the high school band and senior members of the high school choir, including a special rendition of the Harborfields High School Alma Mater.
 
Prior to the presentation of the diplomas, Deputy Superintendent Diana Todaro addressed the graduates, on behalf of Superintendent Frank Carasiti. In her remarks, Ms. Todaro stated, “Your performance and successes, as a class, have contributed to Harborfields High School’s ranking as a top school in the nation, according to a recent Newsweek article. It is evident that you are committed, caring, community oriented and willing to do whatever is needed to succeed or help your fellow classmates. You have set a standard for future classes to follow and emulate.”
 
The Class of 2011 Salutatorian, Pamela Wax, then addressed her fellow graduates. In her speech, Pamela said, “Harborfields is so special. We are special because of the family we have created, because of the love that we have for each other, and the pride that we have for our school. We are special because each of our journeys is a story, and the beginning and ending end up at the same place. We have come full circle and now have to leave the comfort of our second home to conquer the world.”
 
Valedictorian Caitlin Lyons then offered her words of reflection to the audience and offered the following advice: “Live each day as if each were its own adventure, because you never know what opportunities await you. Live your present but remember your past, for who you are is a result of what you have done and who you will be is a result of what you will do today. Each and everyone one of you graduating today is prepared to make a name for yourselves in the world, and each of you will be going you own way. Take with you the spirit of Harborfields and the strength and lessons you have taken from your time here.”
 
William Hennessy, social studies teacher and dean of students, then addressed the graduates as the ceremony’s featured speaker, as chosen by the Class of 2011. In his speech, he offered advice to the graduates as to what pieces of Harborfields the Class of 2011 should carry with them into the future, as suggested by his fellow colleagues. Among them were acceptance, tolerance, enthusiasm, and passion. “My own advice to you is to always love learning,” Mr. Hennessy said. “Keep loving the exploration of new ideas.”
 
High School Principal Dr. David Bennardo then delivered a moving speech that touched upon how special the Class of 2011 is. He compared the class to the “Little Engine That Could,” noting that the class had the highest grade point average in Harborfields High School history, made the playoffs in numerous sports, and won more All-County and juried music awards than any other class. In addition, he stated that the Class of 2011 raised more than $90,000 for those less fortunate. “You allowed us the thrill of rooting for the underdog and dreaming big as you defied the odds and made believers out of a proud community. You have made an indelible impact upon our school and forever captured the hearts and minds of your high school family,” Dr. Bennardo said.
 
Dr. Bennardo then presented a diploma to the family of Nikki Kantor, a beloved member of the Class of 2011 who passed away last summer. Following the emotional presentation, the members of the Class of 2011 were called to the podium to receive their diplomas to the cheer of their family and friends. After the final diploma was presented, students were instructed to move their tassels to the opposite sides of their caps. Once officially announced as graduates, these young adults celebrated by tossing their caps into the air. Following the recessional march, graduates reunited with their loved ones as official alumni of the Harborfields Central School District.

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