WEST ORANGE, NJ — Parents and family members filled the auditorium at West Orange High School on June 20 as their eighth-grade Liberty students bade farewell to middle school and looked forward to beginning a new chapter in their lives.
Following the processional, Principal Robert Klemt welcomed families and congratulated students on their accomplishments over the past two years. Guests included Superintendent Jeff Rutzky, retiring assistant Superintendent Donna Rando and West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore.
“Ceremonies such as this provide opportunities to reflect on memories from the past years,” Klemt said at the event. “Personally it has been very fulfilling watching each of you interact in class and learn. All of you have matured and grown socially and have accomplished so much … as I reflect on our years together some of my proudest moments have occurred in seeing our young adults offer their time participating in service activities. A student giving of their time and talents for the benefit of others is extremely rewarding.”
Moore welcomed students as part of the incoming freshman class. “Welcome to the graduating class of 2020,” he said enthusiastically.
The orchestra performed “Pachelbel’s Canon” under the direction of teacher Dave Rimelis, followed by the recognition of students for the Liberty Awards of Distinction and the Mayor’s Awards for Community Service. Ashkay Bhandari, Anika Fernandez and Julia Giovine received the Liberty Awards of Distinction, given not only for outstanding academic excellence but for their contributions to the life of Liberty Middle School. The Mayor’s Award was given to Karan Belday and Ogechi Nwobu for their impressive community service and involvement.
Indigo Jackson performed next, impressing the audience with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” Students Kiley Smith, Jordan James and Arnelle LaRose were recognized for creative achievements and read their works, while rising WOHS senior Jocelyn Cherian, a graduate of LMS, welcomed students and encouraged them to become involved.
Guidance Counselor Stephanie Nesbitt announced the Academic Awards of Excellence and the ceremony concluded with the distribution of diplomas.
“In closing, our teachers have prepared you well, they provided the guidance and instruction necessary as you move on to high school and it is our hope that you will commit yourselves towards the many educational challenges that lie ahead,” Klemt concluded. “Enter school in September with energy, focus and the desire to confront the unknown. To the Liberty Class of 2016, congratulations and best always!”
Photos Courtesy of Cynthia Cumming