EO Campus High School graduates Class of 2017

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Campus High School Class of 2017 Senior Class President Rael Cherry smiles after leaving the Paul Robeson Stadium field where his graduating class commencement ceremony were on Friday, June 23, despite the rainy weather.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — It started to rain during the East Orange Campus High School graduation ceremony at Paul Robeson Stadium on Friday, June 23, but the members of the Class of 2017 said they weren’t about to let a little wet weather put a damper on their big moment, the crowning point of their secondary school academic careers and beginning of their futures.

“I don’t know, it’s about to rain and I don’t have an umbrella, so it was time to go,” Davon Diggs, 18, said. He walked off the field early, after receiving his diploma, after it started to rain. “I’m happy and, plus, I’m nervous, too, because I’ve been in the same high school for four years and now that’s over. So I’m glad that I’m graduating, but it’s a little sad and scary, too, because no one really knows what the future holds. All we can do is work hard and hope for the best.”

Diggs’ mother, Danielle, said she was extremely proud of her son, who proved he was smart enough to know when to get out of the rain.

“I’m very proud of my son. He made it. Congratulations and keep going further,” she said. “He’s a very good kid. He was (on) honor roll all four cycles.”

Diggs said he intends to pursuing a higher education and his college degree.

“I did apply to Essex County College in Newark for human resources and I’ll probably work for a business,” Diggs said, adding, “Congratulations to all my friends in the Class of 2017.”

“This year was the ‘Road to Robeson,’” Rael Cherry, the Campus High Class of 2017 senior class president said Friday, June 23, adding his classmates paid no attention to the rain. “It didn’t dampen our spirits, not one bit. We stayed in there. Together, we achieve and, together, we grow. It was our day, so we stuck through it, regardless of rain, hail, everything.”

Cherry said he’s already been accepted at Delaware State University and will be leaving for college Sunday, Aug. 6.

“I’ll be attending Delaware State University this fall, studying pre-management,” Cherry said. “I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to open two business — one will be a tackle shop in New York, another will be a tackle shop in Washington, D.C. I leave for college on Aug. 6 and I want to say to my classmates: Stay strong and never give up.”

Cherry’s sentiments were shared by another of his classmates, Hawaa Ferguson, who said she also has a plan for her future she believes will keep her on the road to success that she began traveling four years ago, when she entered Campus High. She also said their graduation moment was bigger than a little bad weather.

“I’m too excited to graduate,” Ferguson said breathlessly Friday, June 23. “I’m studying a whole bunch of different languages. I’m learning Korean, Arabic, Spanish and Japanese and I plan on traveling, being an English teacher, and I also plan on being a translator.”

Ferguson’s international plan isn’t just limited to the four countries whose languages she’s currently learning, because she realizes it’s a big world and she wants to be ready to live and work in it as she learned to do at Campus High.

“I do plan to study Mandarin Chinese, too,” said Ferguson. “I want to learn those four languages first, then I’m going to learn Hindi, Chinese and French. I kind of know how to speak Korean. I know how to like have a basic conversation and I know how to understand a little bit, but I’m not fluent yet.”

Ferguson has applied to more than one college, but is still waiting to see which one will serve as her launching pad for her future. Meanwhile, she had some parting words for her friends and fellow Campus High Class of 2017 classmates.

“If you have a dream, just go for it,” Ferguson said. “Don’t listen to what other people say. Don’t listen to what haters say. Don’t listen to what people say. If you know this is good for you and you want to do it, then go for it.”