MADISON, NJ – The crystal clear skies on Friday evening, June 17, harbored well for the Madison High School Class of 2016.

Accolades and speeches, as well as the high school concert choir and symphonic band, heralded the graduation ceremony at the high school football field.

The seniors and faculty marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar, followed by “America the Beautiful,” sung by the choir.

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Class President Nicholas Lami, Salutatorian Suji Balfe and Valedictorian Adam Klein all gave their take on what’s ahead…and what they’ll leave behind.

Lami thanked his teachers who, he said, “made the last four years difficult.” Despite failures and disappointments, “all of us here have gotten back up,” he said. “I’ve truly fallen in love with this high school despite bumps along the way.”  But the faces, he said, made him feel comfortable here. He told his peers,”There’s no success without failure. No matter what, you can’t stop chuggin'.”

Balfe said, “It’s been a long four years and I learned the value of not giving up.” She said she learned how to persevere and used “Dodgeball,” the game and the movie, as a theme in her advice to fellow graduates.

Klein said he was “thoroughly disappointed” that he was “the best speaker you could come up with. I’ve either been called the smartest dumb person or the dumbest smart person.”  He talked about Magic Mike, a small time hero who had an entraupernial spirit. He urged his classmates to “dance in the rain. When you throw your hats in the air, you’re expressing yourself to the great wide world.”

Board of Education President Lisa Ellis said, “This is a perfect night for a perfect class.”  She recalled graduating from Madison High School herself in 1975.  “It’s been a great privilege to watch you grow over the last four years,” she said. “You are the only one to decide how to spend your future. You have time to figure out who you are.” She urged the graduates,”Listen to your inner voice. Live your life with integrity.”

High School Principal Gregory Robertson said a recent Gallup Poll showed that just 32% of people are engaged in work they liked, while the majority  are not happy in their careers or jobs. “Life is too short,” he said, telling the students to “find your passion and you’ll find a way to sustain your life.”  He noted Mark Twain declared there are two important days in your life: the day you’re born and the day you find out why.

After every senior had received his or her diploma, the Madison High Alma Mater was sung and the students were congratulated once more. They tossed their hats in the air before leaving the amphitheater to “Hymn of Freedom.”  

Following the ceremony, the graduates were greeted and congratulated by friends and family on the upper field, and then on to a reception in the cafeteria before the next step in life’s journey.