Nutley High bids farewell to the Class of 2022

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NUTLEY, NJ — Nutley High School’s Class of 2022 graduated at Park Oval on the evening of June 23. At the ceremony, high school seniors received their diplomas, took photos and moved their graduation tassels from right to left while a standing-room–only crowd applauded.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by the Nutley High School choir and chamber singers, the crowd was welcomed by Senior Class President Garv Goswami, who highlighted the importance of every individual in the class. 

“Picture a mosaic, an image created by an artist who painstakingly places tile after tile onto his canvas; no two tiles are the same in position, color or both. But each and every tile is necessary in order to form the beautiful final product. All these people who I thanked, some seemingly for small reasons, all had a hand in creating the mosaic of me and forming the person who speaks to you today. In fact, every single person in this graduating class knowingly or not has left their imprint on me in some way. Big or small, good or bad — I would not be the same person today if all your tiles had not been placed on my canvas,” he said, encouraging his peers to thank every single person who contributed a tile to the mosaic of them.

“My friends, graduation isn’t the end; the current you isn’t the end. You have many more people to meet, many more accomplishments to achieve and many more tiles to place onto your canvas,” he continued. “But for today let’s sit back and admire the work we have done, reflect on the people we have become and celebrate the artists that have left their mark on us. All I ask is that you never forget them. On the bright path that awaits you in however many years, when you look at your own mosaic remember us, the Class of 2022.”

Salutatorian Adam Benali shared his thoughts on failing and persevering through life’s struggles.

“To many of us the very notion of failing is dreadful and an embarrassing part of our stories that we cannot erase as much as we wish we could, yet failure makes us who we are and most importantly reminds us to persevere. When we fall, we must pick ourselves up and go towards the end,” Benali said. “My wise soccer coach told us, ‘In the face of every possible thing going wrong, we must be resilient.’ The future is full of endless possibilities, and, when we step up on a roadblock, we must figure out a way to swerve around it. As we look toward what is to come, whether it be college, trade school, a career or the military, we will face issues and struggle to keep on a straight path.

“Class of 2022, it is now time that we step into our bright future” he continued. “We are equipped for what is to come, and the perseverance that defines this class will empower us to find our dreams. I want to end with one memorable quote: ‘Do not be discouraged by failure, failure eventually leads to success.’”

The last student speaker was valedictorian Charles J. Hannon, who expressed his belief that he and his peers have all the tools they could ever need to be the best global citizens.

“The great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’ This message from me is a challenge to each and every one of us to trust our instincts,” he said. “There is so much pressure that we can feel and put on ourselves, but really it is better to embrace the pressure and turn it into positive decisions. When approaching a problem, like Yogi said, grab at a solution. As we move forward, we will have many fork-in-the-road moments.

“In life, mistakes are inevitable, but let those mistakes be for trying something new and leaving your comfort zone — not for being static and never risking anything,” he continued. “Possibilities are endless and must be explored. You cannot be passive; you must meet the future with excitement and passion. Patience in times ahead combined with the ability to grab at opportunities provided for us will allow us to be great and embrace life with all it has to offer. When all is said and done, we don’t necessarily have to change the world, but we must do our part to make the communities we live in better places.”

Principal Denis Williams advised students to remain hopeful after they leave Nutley High School.

“Hopefulness is hard earned. It makes demands upon us,” Williams said, explaining that loving and redemptive acts preserve hope. “By being hopeful you say to the world that its inhabitants have value and are worth defending. You say to the world, the world is worth believing in. So I ask all of you to be hopeful and see the value in all things each and every day you’re on this planet.”

William also asked that the students never forget where they grew into young adults: “I ask that you remember this town, this place, this Nutley, a community of caring and support. You remember all it gave you and remember to give back wherever you end up.”

Outgoing Superintendent of Schools Julie Glazer told the graduates: “Just being willing isn’t enough; we also have to do. You don’t need a title to lead — you lead where you stand — and if you can make being involved in the community part of the journey, then the destination is significantly more rewarding, culturally, spiritually and financially. We’ve empowered you, our present and future leaders, with the resources to become change agents, our builders of community, the ones who take down walls and build bridges. You each have the ability to do that.”

Board of Education President Daniel A. Carnicella was the last speaker before students received their diplomas. He reminded students: once a raider, always a raider.

“You have the ability to change the world. Don’t ever forget that,” he said.

Photos by Steve Ellmore