A New Beginning for the Class of 2018

Congratulations Class of 2018 photo

Harborfields High School Class of 2018 did not let a little rain put a damper on their commencement exercises on June 23. The graduates, proudly dressed in green caps and gowns, entered the high school gymnasium to “Pomp and Circumstance” by the high school band, as loved ones beamed and waved with pride.

Senior members of the high school choir performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Harborfields alma mater at the start of the ceremony, which was followed by words of encouragement and lessons from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni. He spoke to the graduates about the importance of time and to “have character and determination in everything that you do.”

Salutatorian Sarah Katz also addressed her fellow graduates, calling the Class of 2018 a family and acknowledging the greatness within them. “Sitting among this great crowd are great minds, leaders, soldiers, musicians, doctors, writers, dreamers and people who I believe can change the world or at least light the spark that does,” she said.

Valedictorian Emma Johnston also focused on how Harborfields is a family and how moving to the district changed her life. “I learned that Harborfields is truly a magical place,” she said. “It is a place of support and mass synergy and it is a place where every walk of life can come together as a community to bring out the best in each other.”

Class President Christopher Burney spoke about his time in the district and wished his fellow graduates the best while encouraging them to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. Featured speaker Casey Sturm, English teacher, addressed the graduates while speaking about when he was in their shoes as a Harborfields High School student. “I can’t wait to see how you change the world,” he said.

Principal Timothy Russo congratulated the graduates while offering words of advice as they embark onto the next chapter of their lives. “Don’t sit back and not take advantage because you are afraid of failure…embrace the opportunity and enjoy the moment,” he said. “And whatever the results are, you’ll find some satisfaction even if there was adversity.”

Russo also presented each graduate with an evergreen tree, symbolizing the foundation and roots of their support system. “Let this be a reminder to you of HF and what you’ve meant to us,” he said.

Before the presentation of diplomas, Russo took a special moment to honor Maggie Schmidt, a member of the Class of 2018 who passed away in June 2017 after her courageous battle with cancer. The Schmidt family was present to accept her diploma on her behalf.

Following Russo’s heartfelt speech of how Schmidt touched the lives of everyone she met, the Board of Education presented each graduate with their diplomas. After moving their tassels from the right to left to commemorate their completion of high school, the graduates tossed their caps high in unison, officially marking them as Harborfields High School alumni.