As the LHS Class of 2013 listened to commencement speeches, graduates fashioned their mortarboards to deliver messages of their own. One summed up in less than a tweet, “Adventure Is Out There.”
Looking out from the podium, the speakers acknowledged the Merit Scholars, published writers, state champions and world-class athletes, commissioned artists, professional researchers, applauded performers, and business leaders, in all 439 graduates seated before them.
“Compare yourself to the person who walked into the doors LHS four years ago, and take a moment to appreciate not only who you have become, but also who you have chosen to be,” said Salutatorian Spencer Luster.
“But your story has only begun,” continued Valedictorian Alexander Nie on the day’s theme. “As fascinating as your experiences have been, they are only a prologue of things to come.”
And with a nod to Dr. Seuss and the artful expressions worn atop their heads, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.
The fashion statement of graduation was definitely the creative caps, the sparkles and sequins that glimmered on Livingston’s home turf. They let the world know where the students are headed: McGill, Vanderbilt, NYU, to name just a few.
Indeed, nearly every student who graduated from LHS on June 26 is college bound, with a few opting for military service, specialty school, employment or travel. One in three will stay in New Jersey, mostly attending Rutgers University or Montclair State, with some attending nearby community colleges. Others will join the valedictorian and salutatorian in the Ivy League. A dozen may have a chance to bump into each other at Penn State.
“Already, the issues of today – climate change, same-sex marriage, global economic competition, access to healthcare – have created the backdrop against which our lives will unfold,” Nie told his classmates.
Their words were the last lessons of the school year. Soon the caps would fly and families reunited for camera-ready moments. Throughout town it was a picture-perfect ending -- at fifth grade moving up ceremonies and clap outs, kindergarten plays and sing-alongs, and the transition ceremony for Heritage eighth graders ready to find their own way in high school.
Acknowledging his retirement as Superintendent, Dr. Brad Draeger told LHS graduates, “My seven years in Livingston have been the best of my career … starting tomorrow, you and I will be redefining our lives.”
I was photographing from the back of a sea of Lancer green, this Class of 2013, when my eyes caught a rainbow of color, a decorated mortarboard with the parting words:
But I also realized it was time to set the camera aside (for a moment), to listen to the advice given by Principal Mark Stern, “to watch the rainbow for as long as it lasts,” and appreciate the Superintendent’s farewell.
When you are locked into the moment, Mark Stern reminded us all, there are some things you can never forget.
IN OUR SCHOOLS
Photos: LHS Class of 2013 Graduation
Marilyn Joyce Lehren is the Manager of Communications/Community Outreach for Livingston Public Schools.