CLARK, NJ – Carl. H. Kumpf Middle School held graduation ceremonies for one of the largest classes of eighth graders in school history on Wednesday evening in the gymnasium of Arthur L. Johnson High School. Graduates filed into the event to Pomp and Circumstance played by the Kumpf band under the direction of Flora Alexander. The ceremony opened with Ryan Rutano, a member of the eighth grade chorus, singing The Star Spangled Banner followed by Zachery Thornton leading the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.
A welcoming address was given by Salutatorian Leah Cherukara, followed by a presentation of the class of 2014 by Principal Jennifer Feeley. In her speech, Principal Feeley spoke of her admiration and respect for the class and how much she has enjoyed her time with them over the past three years. She talked about how much they have grown and how much more they will grow in their high school years. She reminded them to, “Keep your dreams big, because they will keep you going.” She ended her comments by saying she looked forward to hearing about all the great things this class would accomplish as they moved on.
Superintendent Kenneth Knops took to the podium with energetic remarks for the graduating class. He told of a recent guest speaker who, after visiting Kumpf, commented on how empathetic and respectful this graduating class had been to the story he shared. Knops urged the graduates to, “Keep your drive and attention and pick good mentors.” He concluded by congratulating the students on their success and shared a well known Irish blessing he recalled seeing on a plaque in his grandmother’s home as a child.
The event continued with three special awards. The award for perfect attendance was given to Reesha Gandhi. Reesha was the only graduate with no absences on record during the entire three years of middle school. Principal Feeley commented that she has been waiting to be able to grant this award to a student during her six years as principal at Kumpf. The award for Citizenship was given to Ryan Spallone. Teachers were quoted as saying, “He never takes the easy way out and understands that hard work is essential to success.” Feeley said of Ryan, “He makes me feel good about our future.” Finally the Faculty Award went to Tyler Bohm. One teacher said of Tyler, “He is always a gentleman, holding doors for others and letting others speak before himself.”
Diplomas were presented by several members of the Board of Education and school administrators. The roll call of graduates was shared by two Kumpf students, George Visconti and Amy Wysocki.
The final farewell address was given by the class Valedictorian Gregory Zukowski. In his address to his classmates Gregory shared memories of the accomplishments of the class of 2014 in each of the three years at Kumpf. He spoke with clarity about the potential the future held for all of them and about how far they had all come in terms of maturity. He ended by thanking the teachers for helping all the students to achieve success. The evening closed with a promise of bright futures for all graduates as they exited to the Kumpf band playing March Royale.