CLARK, NJ – Carl H. Kumpf Middle School’s eighth grade class celebrated their graduation Wednesday evening. The ceremony commended the Class of 2018 for all of their hard work throughout their three years at Kumpf. 167 students received diplomas during the ceremony, which was held in the Peragallo Gymnasium at Arthur L. Johnson High School.

Graduates walked out to a performance of “Pomp and Circumstance” by the CHK Concert Band. The CHK 8th Grade Chorus then sang their rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Student Council President Shannon Heaning.

The Welcoming Addresses were delivered by Salutatorians Rachel Huff and Julia Steiner, whose grade point averages were tied for second place among the graduates. Huff began by reflecting on connections made between the students and reminiscing about the experiences they’ve had over the past three years. She encouraged her classmates to “step out of [their] comfort zone and take risks,” because these risks could lead to great opportunities down the road.

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Steiner’s speech focused on looking forward to all of the choices that await the graduates in their futures. Steiner also highlighted the fond memories she had at Kumpf and showed her appreciation toward the teachers who helped her along the way.

Principal Richard Delmonaco encouraged graduates to “go forward and take advantage of the opportunities that come to [them]” throughout high school. His advice for graduates was to pursue their interests and seek out learning experiences that will help them become successful in the future.

Next, Superintendent of Schools Edward Grande delivered a message in which he alluded to the greater responsibilities that the students will be entrusted with as they enter high school. He shared his hope that the graduates will continue to make their families proud and wished them luck as they continue on their educational journeys.

Two awards, the Citizenship Award and the Faculty Award, were presented by eighth-grade math teacher Lindsay Molloy. The Faculty Award, which honors a student’s academic excellence and leadership, was awarded to Aidan Ford. Meanwhile, the Citizenship Award, reserved for a student who exhibits selflessness and volunteerism, was awarded to Tatum Dobbins.

Diplomas were then presented to the graduates by Members of the Board of Education. As their names were read by Vice Principal Amanda Davidson, graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

In closing, Valedictorian Christopher Warnick delivered the night’s Farewell Address, where he highlighted the unique combination of excitement and relief felt by the graduates. Despite the fact that not every student knew one another personally, Warnick asserted that everyone in the class is forever united by the common experiences they shared as Kumpf students.

Warnick described the connection between members of his class as “a bond like no other, that I’m sure we will appreciate more when we are adults.”

Principal Delmonaco thanked all of the night’s attendees for supporting the Class of 2018 as the ceremony came to a close. Graduates then exited the gymnasium as the CHK Concert Band played “March Royale.”

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