LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School’s Class of 2019 celebrated the end of middle school when they gathered in the Fitness and Wellness Center Wednesday to receive their Heritage Middle School certificates of completion. Friends, family and teachers cheered on the town’s eighth-grade class as the graduates reminisced on the first nine years of their public-school journey. 

In between presentations by Principal Patricia Boland, assistant principals Rob Grosso and Damion Macioci and performances by the Jazz Band and the Eighth-Grade Chorus, teams 8-1 through 8-4 rose to shake hands with their teachers and exchanged the graduation certificates that now officially recognize the students as Livingston High School freshmen. Throughout the celebration, several students spoke on behalf of the student body. Sincere thanks were bestowed upon their teachers, the administration and their parents for the help and support throughout their middle-school years. 

Representing their class, new freshmen Almog Landsberg, Jonathan Chen, Andrew Jiang, Julia Murray and Emily S. Heller gave a crowd-pleasing presentation overviewing their nine years in the Livingston Public School System and sharing encouraging words with their classmates about what’s to come.

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“In four short years, every one of us will be back in a similar position, this time graduating high school,” said Jiang. “This time we’ll be facing a huge world of possibilities.”

Murray realized that as they enter the “biggest, scariest and most exciting of all the schools,” the Class of 2019 has truly come full circle — from playing at Littell People’s Park, to swimming in the town pool, to learning to read at the Livingston Library — and now they are making their final stop at LHS. When she presented a nostalgic look back at their elementary-school years together, Murray advised her peers to remember that every year will bring new challenges, just as it has done in the past.

“Those years gave us the foundation for the rest of our lives,” said Murray. “We learned many keys to success in elementary school. Remember the simple rules: be nice to others, share and try to smile and laugh out loud a few times every day. It will make your life and the lives of those around you significantly better.”

Chen followed suit and quoted American author Gail Sheehy, who once wrote, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

“None of us can deny that we have learned a lot this year, but these very wise words present us with yet another lesson,” said Chen. “I urge you to listen to my words, and those of this great author, in understanding that high school brings a necessary change, which will help us mature on all levels.”

Heller and Jiang discussed the next chapters and the endless possibilities high school and the “real world” could bring for the Class of 2019. Both urged their classmates to focus on the excitement as they enter this exciting and nerve-racking time because any one of them could be the next Nobel Prize winner, great humanitarian, Super Bowl Champion or pop singer.

Referencing Mark Twain’s famous words, Jiang told the audience that 20 years from now, they would regret more of the things they didn’t do than the ones they did. He encouraged his classmates to value the tools their generation has been given and to continue to explore, discover and dare to dream as they embark on their next journey. 

“One of these days, when we’re old, we’re going to have a lot of time to reflect and think about the choices we made in our lives — especially the ones that came after high school, after we’re really given the freedom to define ourselves,” said Jiang. “When that day comes, I don’t want any of us to be disappointed in what we’ve accomplished. I wish us all the best in having no such regrets as we move onto the high school and onward with our lives.”

On behalf of the Class of 2019, Student Council Co-Presidents Keerthi Jayaraman and Brittany Sun wrapped up the afternoon’s presentations by congratulating Boland on her new position as Assistant Superintendent for Livingston Public Schools.

Boland saw her eighth grade class off to the high school by encouraging them to seek new opportunities, new experiences and new challenges.