NEWTON, NJ—The Newton High School Class of 2018 graduated outside on Friday, surrounded by their friends, families, teachers, and fellow classmates, despite some slight drizzling during the ceremony at Palmer Field.

After the 206 graduates processed with the teachers and Board of Education members, the Alma Mater and the National Anthem were sung by graduating members of the Newton High School Honors Choir.

2018 Class Secretary, Jehu Ananoria gave the welcome speech, followed by three honorary essays by Jillian Bandel, Abdo Elsaadany-Class President, and Liam Kerrick, about the theme of the Class of 2018- Be Brave.

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“Newton is unique with its strong community ties and how we represent the school wherever we go”, Bandel said. “One famous saying by Mr. Christian is ‘when you walk out that door, you’re at Newton High School.’ He started saying this to remind the students that even when we move on from high school and are no longer in the building itself, that we represent all that our school stands for; a piece of our hearts will always remain at Newton High School. The theme for our graduation is be brave…be brave… what does that mean. It means to take the spirit, knowledge, and memories made as a Newton Brave and to take that confidence and courage with us wherever we go. The world outside of high school is scary-terrifying even, but we are brave and we will continue showing the passion we carry in our hearts wherever out path takes us. While everything may seem scary and new to us right now, at least we, the class of 2018, will always be Brave.”

Jeff Waldron, Newton High School Principal opened the graduation by acknowledging those who will be retiring this year, there are a total of 143 years of service between the five faculty members.

Five students heading into the military after graduation were recognized for the service they will be giving. One young man will be joining the Marines, two will be serving in the Navy and two will be serving in the Army.

Waldron then acknowledged the Salutatorian, Liam Kerrick and Valedictorian, Sierra Mastrelli, who were awarded medals by their guidance counselor, MIchelle Herring.

The next essay was read by Elsaadany, who spoke about being brave as well and how he has been so fortunate to be part of a class with such brave students.

“'Be Brave,' two small words composed of just seven letters, yet the phrase holds an indescribable amount of meaning, Look around you, we are all brave and not only are we all brave, but we instill bravery in others. Throughout my four years at Newton High School, I have been fortunate enough to meet many courageous people. Our class has been courageous in the face if the unknown and in the face of adversity, while also exemplifying personal bravery. As I look around today, I cannot help but notice the diversity in our class, not just in our ideas but in our lives. The 206 graduates of the Class of 2018 represent many ethnicities, religions, and beliefs and have roots in countries all over the world,” Elsaadany said.

He spoke about three students in particular in his speech; Adrian Guerra, who came from Ecuador in 2014 and had to overcome so much including not knowing any English. “Adrian did not give up in the face of the unknown and neither have the growing number of immigrant students at Newton High School, They are brave. We are brave.” The second was about Jaiden Elliot, who in 2015 tore his patella during a basketball practice. “Jay proved everyone wrong, I can still remember the countless times I walked in a room to see hum doing his physical therapy exercises. Jaiden Elliot is brave. We are brave.” Lastly he spoke about Kyle Conway, who stood up in front of his class to give a speech and “froze”. “Just one year later, Kyle stood up in the same setting and gave an improvised speech that blew everyone away. Kyle went from being an introverted and shy student to an extraordinarily kind and humorous leader. But Kyle was brave. We are brave. Indeed, every single one of us is brave. You can see it in our actions as individuals and as a class. Our school spirit is unmatched. We really did this high school thing right, guys. We engaged ourselves, involved ourselves, and we created for ourselves a high school experience to remember.”

The last honorary essay was read by Kerrick, who once again touched upon what it means to ‘be brave’.

“As we leave the comfort of our homes for new challenges, whether it be attending distinguished universities or technical schools, enlisting in the armed forces, or joining the workforce, I have tremendous faith in the ingenuity of every one of the graduates here today. Due to your inextinguishable desire to succeed, relentless determination, and irrepressible curiosity, the world is truly your oyster. Tonight I am extending the same piece of advice to each of you: 'Be Brave.' Being brave is about pushing your limits and getting out of your comfort zone. Only when you are willing to take risks or tackle unorthodox challenges, can you learn your true capabilities. We can never be complacent. We must aspire to something better and take action to fulfill those desires. While some of us will reluctantly part ways tonight, I know that many of you have the potential to change our world. The only question is, who will be brave? Who will fight for what they believe in? Who will push their limits and become something greater than anyone could ever expect? As graduates of Newton High School, I challenge each and every one of you to strive for something greater. Never settle for the status quo. Challenge yourself every day to be a better version of you, and prove anyone who ever doubted you wrong. So as you leave Newton High School, let not your future be shaped by what you are afraid to try, but instead let it be defined by your courage and your willingness to work for a better tomorrow.”

The Class of 2018 was then presented to superintendent Dr. G Kennedy Greene, as well as the Board of Education members and all the graduating seniors’ families and friends.

Due to the rain, Waldron and Greene decided to forgo their usual graduation speeches and as Waldron put it, “get to the important part, where the kids receive their diplomas.” 

Senior Class Advisor Jennifer Coffey and Junior Class Advisor Deborah Sumowski read off the names of the graduates as Board of Education President Stella Dunn and Board of Education Vice President Jessica Egner handed out the diplomas.

Elizabeth Austin and Tim Houlihan asked, on behalf of the Class of 2018, all applause be held until all the graduates have received their diplomas, “because come on, it’s rude and disrespectful, seriously,” Houilhan said.

Three Board of Education members from Newton, Green, and Andover were able to present their children with their diplomas. From Newton was Tina Larsen, who presented her son Will with his diploma.

After the class received their diplomas, they processed down the aisles past their families and proceeded to make a circle on the field in front of the field goal posts. They counted to three and threw their caps up into the air together in a dignified and respectful way. Each child went home with the correct cap that night.

Newton High School Class of 2018 Graduates

National Honor Society *

  • Jennifer Nicole Ahmad*,   
  • Tyler John Alvarez
  • Jehu Jireh Z. Ananoria*,   
  • Luismy Pichardo Arias
  • Andrew Jaeyung Austin*,   
  • Benjamin James Austin
  • Elizabeth Cecelia Siyun Austin
  • James William Joseph Ayres
  • Omar Ba
  • Troy Lawrence Babcock
  • Cole Robert Babiak
  • Caitlin Michele Bailey
  • Lydia Grace Bailey*,   
  • Jillian Patricia Bandel*,   
  • Isabelle Alice Barry
  • Zachary Dennis Bears
  • Emily Joan Berkowitz
  • Dylan Thomas Berry
  • Dara Noelle Bilotti
  • Jonathon Reed Borgognoni
  • Christian Julian Brock
  • Samuel Charles Brothman
  • John Francis Bugay
  • Zachary Francis Calvani
  • Andrea Estelle Carlson*, 
  • William Walter Carson, III
  • Paul Thomas Casperson*,   
  • Christopher David Chan
  • Joseph Christopher Chavarria
  • Qi Xin Chen
  • Andrew Gareth Chrustic
  • Kevin Michael Conway
  • Kyle Robert Conway*,   
  • Kayla Christine Cook
  • Kayla Ann Coombs
  • Samantha Blair Coplon*,                
  • Chase Joseph Cramer
  • Emily Iris Critchley*,   
  • Ethan Michael Cross
  • Colette Sue Cunningham
  • Ian William Cunningham
  • James Matthew Daley
  • Najah Aaliyah Michael Davenport
  • Danielly De Miranda Ribeiro
  • Brody Joseph DeCesare
  • Joel De’Andre De La Rosa
  • Joseph Peter De Luca*,   
  • Rhiannon Marie DeMauro
  • Rose Dorothea DeRyder*,   
  • Hailey Shannon Devlin
  • Karen Dialmys Diaz Vichot*,   
  • Peter Diaz
  • Heather Noelle Dickerson
  • Gabrielle Nicole Dillstrom
  • Makaela Renee Dionne*,   
  • Ashish Rao Dugyala
  • Brianna Mary Dul
  • Sierra Lucia Ruiz Dunn
  • Julia Sophia Dworzycki
  • Lauren Julia Ehrenberg
  • Jaiden Shaun Elliott*,   
  • Abdelrahman Sabry Elsaadany*,   
  • Madeleine Vencek Enriquez*,   
  • Jacob Antonio Estevez
  • Michell Loren Ezhov
  • Margaret Sue Fergus
  • Zachary Leo Finkelstein
  • Daniel Joshua Finley
  • Rebecca Taylor Finley
  • Victoria Julianna Fox
  • Danielle Marie Frank*,   
  • Bruno Martin Fredes
  • Kayleigh Ann Furth*, 
  • Brianna Elise Giordano*, 
  • Kattleya Leigh Go*,   
  • Andrew Gilbert Gratti
  • Amanda Jane Groschadl
  • Darianna Aleksandra Gruca
  • Adrian Alexander Guerra Manzo
  • Ryan Owen Harding
  • Mariah Stephanie Hedgepeth
  • Jacob Michael Heller
  • Shane Michael Hendershot
  • Thomas Robert Hermann
  • Isaiah Christian Herrera
  • Emily Lyn Herring*,   
  • Nicholas Charles Hild
  • Erica Nicole Hind
  • Hannah Mary Holzhauer
  • Timothy Joseph Houlihan
  • Erica Jane Hvizdos*,   
  • William Delfino Ippolito
  • Sarah Irizarry
  • Reece Olivier Ivaldi
  • Veronica Maria Izquierdo
  • Leanna Yasmene Jarrett
  • Benjamin Marquis Johnson
  • Andrew David Jones
  • Ryan Christopher Keener
  • Madison Morgan Kent
  • David Ashley Kerr, Jr.
  • Liam Higgins Kerrick*,
  • Simon Taylor King
  • Grace Elizabeth Kinney
  • Natalie Rose Kirby
  • William Ted Larsen
  • Braden Christopher Leen
  • Aaron Francesco Leone*,   
  • Anna Maria Lipert
  • Edward Michael Lynch
  • Ider Alejandro Macias
  • Devin Joseph Mager
  • Ryan John Marshall
  • Sierra Nicole Mastrelli*,     
  • Andrew James Matlaga
  • Kacie Erin May
  • Ava Lynn McCarthy
  • Marissa Jasmine McGauley* 
  • James Phillip Clarke McMahon
  • Erika Marie Medina-Munoz* 
  • Morgan Hope Mendel
  • Isael Mendez
  • Briana Kathleen Moffatt
  • Ashley Morand* 
  • Miranda Rose Morel* 
  • Kaitlyn Elizabeth Morreale
  • Jaydeep Mukherjee* 
  • Jacquelyn Kylie Mull
  • Nicholas Michael Nannery
  • Julia Theresa Nisler*, 
  • John Nitting, Jr.
  • Dante Vashann Northe-Little
  • Olivia Grace O’Brien
  • Sarah Elizabeth O’Brien
  • Cameron Lance Osborn*,   
  • Christopher Marcello Padilla
  • Jennifer Grace Papis
  • Vraj Dharmendra Patel
  • Kyle Patrick Penny*,   
  • Gianni John Pereira
  • Brandon Wesley Posey*,   
  • Florencia Posse
  • Ashley Samantha Qasem
  • Richard Saverio Reczka*,   
  • Harrison Taylor Redlich
  • Kathleen Louise Reidmiller
  • Michael Francis Reidmiller*,   
  • Dylan Thomas-Harry Reina-Frankel
  • Sydney Alexis Reynolds*,  
  • Noah Christian Rivera-Sharp
  • Harley Dean Rolon-Coppinger
  • Reyna Maya Rosario
  • Cailin Adelaide Ruoti
  • Elizabeth Ann Saks
  • Thomas Ramon Salomon
  • Justen Robert Samiljan
  • Derek Thomas Sanchez
  • Frank Sebastian Sandoval
  • Brandy Lee Sasso
  • Kyle Aubrey Scheffler
  • Brandon Thomas Schoemer*,   
  • Riley Anne Scuralli*,   
  • Nico Valentino Sebastiano
  • April Nicolle Serratelli
  • Tyler John Sevean
  • Zachary David Shickel
  • Daniel Christopher Simon-Slowinski
  • Chelsea Lynn Sisko
  • Amara Brooke Skerry
  • Anthony Robert Smith
  • Natalie Paige Smith*, 
  • James Joseph Snyder
  • Karis Kim Steele
  • Rachel Anne Sturchio
  • Logan Brian Sweeney
  • Samantha Renee Sylvain
  • Olivia Rose Sylvester*, 
  • Matthew Douglas Tapia
  • John Jake Tarabokija           
  • Emily Christina Tattersall
  • Noah Stephen Tennies
  • Regan Elizabeth Thiel
  • Nathanael James Thuen
  • Charles Harrison Toepfer
  • Edwin Kenith June Torres
  • Diusthim Alejandro Vaca Aviles
  • Aaron Richard Valentino
  • Kyle John Vandenberg
  • Ryan Christopher Vandenberg
  • Carly Elizabeth VanNess
  • Jonathan Edward VanNess
  • Ryan Charles VanNieuwland
  • Elenora Vega Maya
  • Isabella Grajo Velasco
  • Christina Marie Verleur
  • Grace Maria Vigorito*,   
  • Joshua Paul Virtell*,  
  • Gregory James Wanamaker
  • Rachel Marie Welker
  • Amanda Leigh Whitworth*,   
  • Tyler Anthony Wilson
  • Jared Alexander Witt
  • Kassandra Wojcik*,   
  • Kamran Junior Yazdanfar
  • Luke David Young*,   
  • Kamryn Paige Zanella
  • Todd David Zellars
  • Arianna Angelica Ziegler* 
  • Gianna Sara Ziegler