NUTLEY, NJ - Unlike humid or soggy past graduations the cool breeze weather Tuesday evening, June 26, did not calm many of the class of 2018 graduates. All had smiles on their faces anticipating the walk across Tangorra Field at Nutley Oval for the very last time to receive their diplomas. Tears were shed before and after the ceremony by students saying goodbye to their fellow classmates.

The Nutley Police Department kept a close eye, with officers stationed throughout the viewing stands and at the entrance ways, while families and friends safely watched their loved ones achieve this milestone.

The Nutley Band and Orchestra performed “Winds of Change” while everyone waited. The 148th graduating class marched to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.” The Nutley Concert Choir and Chamber Singers stood on the platforms and sang the Star Spangled Banner” and “The Nutley High School Alma Mater.”

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The senior class president Noah Roselli welcomed the crowd and his fellow classmates. Roselli held the office all four years at NHS.

“The Class of 2018 is something truly special to me…this specialty is inspiring and riveting,” said Roselli.

Roselli reflected on when he was a terrified freshman and how, once again, he will become a nervous freshman in September at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He asked his fellow classmates to thank a teacher who was a positive impact; a staff member that made high school fun; or an underclassman that made the day better.

“We, as humans, are always changing, just as quickly as the world around us. …This, this graduation is just another change; a small change, but another one,” said Roselli.

According to Roselli these were not the golden days but to him they felt golden. Roselli ended his speech telling his classmates that the journey isn’t over just this one section.

Sairia J. Somnay who will be attending the University of California – Berkeley in the fall, gave the salutatory address. Somnay hoped that in exchange for her memories she made that she leaves “one last small, meaningful memory.” 

Somnay explained her struggle with writing her speech and one song “When You Were Young” by The Killers struck a message she wanted to share which made her who she is now. “After getting caught up with the catchy riffs and choral refrains, the song’s message shined through and has stuck with me,” she said.

She recited some of the lyrics, “‘Like you imagined when you were young,’ ‘You sit there in your heartache’ and ‘Easy now, watch it go.’”  Somnay said she felt through the lyrics she was able to connect the change from junior to senior. She said the song’s message is “everything is not going to be as perfect as we picture it.”

She told the class not to overdramatize or dwell when things go awry, but make the most with what you are given. Somnay said her dad reminds her that money, friends and love will come and go, “but time only goes.”

 She said the year flew by in a blink of an eye and told her classmates to harness and not waste time.

Valedictorian Rauf Ural, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, said his uncertainty of what he was going to say was a lesson in itself. He asked his fellow classmates to step back and appreciate how they came to this moment, and to give their parents one last smile as high schoolers. Ural reminisced on his four years, the fear of the work load, the broken air conditioning in one of his classrooms, the support of his teachers. “[…] part of me secretly enjoying that back-to-school feeling in late August when I’d once again see my favorite teachers and peers.”

Ural said he went into high school knowing he had to work hard. He said his parents who emigrated here never went to college. “They did not know how my grades worked, what classes were important, or how to manage college applications,” he said.

He told his classmates to not settle and be comfortable in one thing to explore. “The absence of comfort is the fuel of change …the ideal person you want to become now will not be the same several years down the line,” Ural said.

He believes uncertainty will be everywhere to use this uneasiness to let go of doubt. “[…] use that unexpected change, whenever it greets you, to steer yourself in another direction, even if you don’t know where it leads. Just don’t crash into anything along the way.” 

Ural suggested that at the end of college when they are home again looking for work to thank themselves. “[…] for always being your own support and putting up with your mistakes. In the end, you are the only person you’ll always have around, so make sure to treat yourself once in a while.”

The Nutley Concert Choir and Chamber singers took to the stands and sang OneRepublic’s “I Lived.”

Principal Denis Williams presented the Class of 2018, then asked the students to salute and applaud their parents. “Embrace the lessons the teachers gave you. … Remember you came from a town that always supported freedom. …To each grad, I ask that you remember this town, this school, and all it gave you wherever you go,” he said. He quoted Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young,” “May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung, may you stay forever young.”

Superintendent Julie Glazer said Nutley has a strong sense of community.  “And when you are feeling alone some night in your dorm room, or nervous on your first day at work or in a new place, or traveling far from friends and family, wrap yourself in the community quilt we’ve created –and know you have the love and strength of the whole town here for you…”

Superintendent Julie Glazer said Nutley has a strong sense of community.  “And when you are feeling alone some night in your dorm room, or nervous on your first day at work or in a new place, or traveling far from friends and family, wrap yourself in the community quilt we’ve created –and know you have the love and strength of the whole town here for you…”

Board of Education President Daniel Carnicella said, “[…] always expand your mind and learn new things. …To end is to begin again, and so does a new chapter in your life, a new canvas where you begin to write your own story. … Create your own luck; continue to build your skills so the opportunities become yours.  Reach for the stars. We have no doubt that you will."

Vincent United Methodist Church across the Oval rang their bells as the students lined up taking their diplomas, a long standing tradition. Each one shook the principal’s hand or grabbed a selfie with him, and shared a smile one last time.  

After the last graduate, Roselli the led the graduates in the ceremonial tassel turn and hat toss.