PLAINFIELD, NJ - A sea of red and blue flooded the Americo “Rico” Parenti Gymnasium at Plainfield High School while the celebratory sound of pride and accomplishment permeated the building Thursday night.
Of the many milestones one goes through in their lives the first monumental one experienced by a young person on the path to adulthood is that of a high school graduation. High school graduation is the rite of intellectual passage for the celebrated class as well as a pivotal moment of pride for the parents, family members and friends of those students.
The Class of 2013, the 143rd graduating class of Plainfield High School, held its promotion ceremony with five sets of bleachers filled with onlookers cheering them on as well as those who could not fit in the gymnasium and had to watch the ceremony from projection screens in the cafeteria and auditorium.
The ceremony was originally planned to take place at the Hub Stine Fields Complex, but earlier that day the decision to move the graduation indoors to make sure that not even rain would hinder such a celebration.
“Mommy loves her and we are very proud of her,” said Shalonda Johnson the mother of graduate Jakirah Johnson.
Parents, relatives and friends were not the only ones cheering on the graduates. Faculty members and their fellow graduates cheered on each name being called to receive their high school degree. The diploma recipients walked with dignity and self-respect as well as elation.
“Daddy this is for you!,” said Governor Lord Spivey after he received his diploma. Spivey had recently lost his father.
Special remembrance was shown for Isaiah Claritt and Shawane Lovely, two seniors that tragically lost their lives in the past school year. One graduate paid tribute by displaying a picture of Claritt on the top of their cap.
Principal Otis Brown Junior presented the graduates with their diplomas and valedictorian Erika Ruales and salutatorian Greyly Lopez Olmedo were specially celebrated.
“Our banner victorious Noble Red and Blue; whate’er be the conflict we’ll carry through,” was sang as part of the Alma Mater written by Clarence Mowen from PHS graduating class of 1922.
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