Before the Class of 2019 stepped foot onto the track to begin commencement exercises, family, loved ones, and friends were already cheering wildly for the soon-to-be graduates on the sunny morning of June 22. Students entered the field proudly in their green and white caps and gowns, waving and smiling as the high school band played “Pomp and Circumstance.”

To start off the ceremony, senior members of the high school choir performed “The Star Spangled Banner” and the Harborfields alma mater. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ianni then took the podium and congratulated both students and proud parents for making it to this point together, and offered words of encouragement for the future, drawing from the Roman Philosopher Seneca.

“There are likely more things that will scare us than will crush us,” said Dr. Ianni, “so let your hopes hold more weight than your fears, and let every moment be a learning experience.”

Salutatorian Katherine Paradise addressed her fellow graduates and expressed that it had been an honor to grow together from the days of Washington Drive to the day of graduation.

“Every student here contributed something unique to HF,” she said. “This class encompasses such a wide variety of talents. Every one of us has something to be proud of, and a bright future to look forward to.”

Valedictorian William Waring also commented on the high caliber of the class of 2019 and the unique and beautiful nature of being a part of the Harborfields family. When imparting last words of wisdom to his classmates, William encouraged them to always hold onto a sense of perspective.

“Every day is precious, no matter how insignificant it seems,” he said, “so take risks, live life to the fullest, and focus on the people that really matter in your lives.”

Class President Eric Warbitsky congratulated his fellow graduates, recalled fond district-wide memories, and commented that he would never forget what it was like to be a part of the Harborfields Family. Featured speaker Kerri McGinty English teacher, addressed the graduates and encouraged them to use their voice and face challenges head-on.

“The more you use your voice, and the more you take on challenges, the more you discover who you truly are.”

Principal Timothy Russo congratulated the graduates, commending them for the incredible young men and women they’ve become. He reflected on the things he may have wanted to hear as a graduate, but ultimately settled on something he would have needed to hear.

“Make sure you don’t speed through your life, and wish you could run every red light,” he encouraged them. “And instead, when you’re stuck at a standstill, take a moment to remember all the things that have brought you here—and make sure you’re still going in the direction you truly need to go.”

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.

Each graduate then received their diploma from a member of the Board of Education. After moving their tassels from the right to left to commemorate their completion of high school, graduates tossed their caps into the air, officially marking them as Harborfields High School alumni.

Congratulations, Class of 2019!