MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Friday morning, May 19, the first senior Black and Red Breakfast took place in the cafeteria of Columbia High School (CHS). The entire Class of 2017 and their parents were invited to share information about the upcoming events leading up to, and following, graduation. The catalyst for the event had been an offer from Eric Francis, a 1968 graduate of CHS to tell the students how CHS had shaped his life.

Elizabeth Aaron, CHS principal, welcomed all as did Marilyn Wright, President of the CHS Home and School Association. Aaron recognized the seniors for their hard work, thoughtfulness, and kindness during their time at CHS. Aaron also thanked Wright for all she does for the school and students.

There were brief words from Maureen Davenport and Margaret Gray, Chairs of the event, as well as from Holly Gruber, who reminded the students about Midnight Madness, the annual graduation celebration.

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Upon graduation all the students become CHS alumni, and were encouraged to be involved with the association. The food for the breakfast was provided by 9th, 10th and 11th grade students.

Francis spoke about his time at CHS and about his life’s work and achievements, and concluded by saying "only by reaching for the stars… those that shine brightest for you, can you possibly hope to touch them. So, go for it – with everything you’ve got. And remember to share it – a life well-lived is always more fun when shared. But always have the courage to live a life true to yourself - not the life others expected of you."

Aaron concluded the program by reminding the students that this is Graduation Month and suggested the idea that the students think about where they now are and how far they have come.