BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Thunderous applause and a symphony of air horns echoed throughout Governor Livingston High School's turf field as Principal Robert Nixon presented the 2016 graduating class to loved ones in the audience.
The ceremony began with bagpiped procession and the Highlander sword stab into the ceremonial rock at the entrance to the field.
Nixon discussed how proud he was of the class who were freshman when he began his own career at GL.
"It has been an amazing journey and an amazing ride," said Nixon. "You are ready for your next ride."
Nixon noted several accomplishments of the Class of 2016, which included the varsity baseball team’s county championship trophy, state-recognized artists and various service projects like Relay for Life and St. Baldrick's.
In addition to Nixon's praise of the class' accomplishments, he also provided some good advice for the future: grit is what sets successful people apart from the pack.
"Life will present you with many choices and challenges," said Nixon. "Work hard, be tough and don't give up on something when times are tough."
The Class of 2016 also received kind words from Superintendent Judith Rattner. Rattner provided three distinct ingredients for a successful life: kindness, gratitude and always finding a reason to smile.
"Don't let life happen to you," Rattner said. "Be proactive, not reactive – you make the future."
The Governor Livingston Commencement Band opened and closed the ceremony while the Governor Livingston Choir & ASL Singers performed "Our Time" after Nixon's remarks.
Griffin Busby also delivered a speech where he quipped both his fellow students and administrators with several jokes. Busby's overall message, however, was one that emphasized how the GL community encouraged the Class of 2016 to embrace change.
"I see a class full of leaders that will have an impact on a myriad of subjects," said Busby. "I'd like to say thank you to GL for supporting and motivating us toward change."
The graduating Class of 2016 consisted of 236 students, all of who were sent off by Rattner's positive words.
"I wish to all graduates," said Rattner, "continued success; may the future be yours."
Editor's Note: Photo credits to Bobbie Peer and a collection of photos submitted to TAP into Berkeley Heights.