BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Ridge High School celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night at Ridge’s football field, with plenty of friends and family in the crowd to cheer on the new graduates.
Drew Krause, principal of Ridge High School, opened the evening’s festivities by welcoming the attendees on behalf of the administration, the superintendent and the Board of Education.
He then introduced Emily Warshaw, who signed the Pledge of Allegiance, and then the senior choir members who beautifully sung the National Anthem.
Senior Class President Sydney Mahan was first among the student speakers, starting out by welcoming all faculty, family, and friends for coming to the event.
“Class of 2018, I remember so clearly, like I’m sure the rest of you do, walking into Ridge High School freshman year, thinking how far away this day would be,” said Mahan. “Little did we know what we would be in for.”
She then talked about how despite the fears of becoming a high schooler, Ridge High School would be a second home for all of them one way or another.
“You read about high school in books, watch it on tv, or even just listen to your parents talk about their good ole high school days,” said Mahan. “Now, you will have your own ‘back in high school’ stories.”
Mahan would go on to describe the many accomplishments Ridge students had over the years, from sports triumphs to academic prowess.
“We supported the successes of our classmates who will be attending Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Navy, and West Point, just to name a few.”
She finished by wishing everyone the best of luck and describing how much Ridge meant to her.
“Most importantly, thank you for everything Ridge, because back in high school, I never would have realized the incredible impact that you would have on me.”
Molly Webber followed by describing what it was like to be a Ridge student and from the community, and how everyone was able to get through the trials and tribulations of high school.
“We’ve also experienced challenges,” said Webber. “The stress before a big test, the panic as deadlines approach, and the rush in the morning to get to school, as well as balancing all of extracurriculars.”
“Through those challenges, we relied on one another in any way that we could because we all understood, and still understand, the daily life of a Ridge High School student.”
Webber went on to explain that even though Ridge students all had similar day to day experiences within the town, their lives would all be drastically different in a matter of weeks.
“The view that we have experienced at Ridge has been so wonderful and rewarding, but it is time,” said Webber. “It is time to look out of our windows in the morning and see the future that we selected for ourselves, and ourselves alone.”
Christine Wang concluded the student speakers with a captivating and amazing story.
Wang, who originally was going to be a part of the graduating class of 2015, suffered an aneurism before the end of the school year, and was in the hospital for over two years.
Despite this, she knew that thanks to Ridge High School, she would be able to bounce back and be better than ever.
“Little did I realize that I had reinforcements, and I wasn’t fighting alone,” said Wang. “I had a whole family of superheroes in the Ridge community that gave me the support, power, and strength for me to survive.”
She went on to praise the Class of 2018 for welcoming her with open arms, even though many of her friends and peers graduated years ago.
“If there is one thing that I can share with you today, it is that kindness matters,” said Wang. “Wherever you go, a little smile or wave can make a huge difference.”
Wang concluded with leaving some advice for her fellow graduates, saying “Live a little, cherish each day you have, and smile.”
“Even though you may not know how you are going to change the world, you have already proven that you are super.”
Principle Krause thanked everyone for coming and those who made this day possible, and then introduced superintendent Mark Markarian as the presenter of diplomas to cap off what was a phenomenal evening.