ROSELLE, NJ - Family and friends filled Harwood Arena at Kean University yesterday to watch 165 Abraham Clark High School students accept diplomas and turn their tassels. 

Ninety-four percent of the senior class fulfilled their graduation requirements, Principal Rashon Mickens said during his remarks. Of those graduating, all plan to attend post-secondary school, he added. 

“Watching each of you grow and mature over these years as young men and women has been very rewarding,” Mickens said in his address. “This class -- the graduating Class of 2017 -- will forever go down in history as the class that succeeded when it mattered most.” 

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Superintendent of Roselle Schools Dr. Richard Corbett, noted that this was his first time overseeing a commencement at Abraham Clark High School since he was appointed.

“Students, Roselle needs you,” said Dr. Corbett. “So do not ever forget where you came from. Do not forget the education Roselle gave to you. Please come back into your community. Share your success with that community.” 

Board of Education Vice President Jazmine Sandifer-Charles served as the keynote speaker at the ceremony. She graduated from Abraham Clark High School in 2007, went on to graduate from Rutgers University and launched a career in marketing. 

She told students the summer before she went to college was “lit” -- a colloquial term which many millennial's use to describe something exciting or fun. She played on that word to give students guidance in her speech. 

“I made up this word, or somebody made it up,” Sandifer-Charles said. “But you will find yourself in great ‘lit-uations’ that feel like existential situations, but please prioritize your obligations.”  

Valedictorian Agape DeLeon thanked several faculty members during her address, and admitted that taking classes while doing extra work outside of school was “not easy.”

“So I encourage you all to remember: Continue to walk through the responsibility we started,” DeLeon said. “And just as I experienced, keep walking through rejection, distraction, discouragement and all opposition. Don’t just walk, but go through it.”

Salutatorian Victoria Robinson, who ranked second in her graduating class, reflected on the time spent in high school and looked to the future. 

“I would encourage you to be mindful that we were born with an innate gift to leave an impact on the world,” she said, adding that, “it is our time to transform the world.” 

Class Officer Assad Abdul-Hamid introduced all the speakers during the ceremony. His principal said Abdul-Hamid will be attending the United States Naval Academy next week, a first in the school’s history. 

Meanwhile, 35 students in the Class of 2017 graduated with honors. 

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