SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Jonathan Dayton High School’s class of 2018 is ready to take the next step. The high school seniors in the district made their graduation on Tuesday June 18 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.

Dr. Norman Francis, the Principal of Jonathan Dayton, said that he and the rest of the administration have a great deal of pride in what the students have been able to accomplish, and what lies ahead of them having now graduated from high school

“We’re very proud of them,” Francis said. “They’ve worked very hard and are going to a variety of different schools. Some are [going into] selective military service, some are going into trades. I’m proud of them, they worked hard and I’m just really eager to see what they’re going to do with their lives and make their big contribution and mark on the world.”

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After filing into the auditorium through the processional, the graduates were given many good lessons by the speakers in attendance at the meeting. School board president Scott Silverstein noted that for the graduating class, this was their first step into adulthood. He urged the students sitting in the audience to hold fast to hold fast to core values including truth and cooperation, and to turn away from the name-calling and divisiveness that has marked personal, public and political interactions for the last several years.

Dr. Francis and School Superintendent Michael Davino were the other school administrators who gave remarks at the ceremony. Francis urged new graduates to be bold, be caring and be courageous in their future endeavors, while Davino noted that while there had been a lot of change and upheaval this year, the students handled their circumstances in a mature way.

Graduating seniors Scott Maran and Jessica Steir also spoke on stage about their time in high school, with Maran saying that even though he didn’t spend as much time in district as some of his peers, he still felt like his time at Jonathan Dayton gave him a second home. And for Steir, a recap of her four years at the high school was her opportunity to reminisce with each and every member of her graduating class.

After receiving their diplomas, the students exited the auditorium and met their friends and family outside. For some of the students, this was their opportunity to reflect on all they had accomplished.

Adam Kaunfer, a graduating senior at Jonathan Dayton, said that he is happy with what he has accomplished and that his path will be taking him to college in the fall.

“Right now I’m feeling very proud of myself,” Kaunfer said. “I’m going to go to Montclair State University to study Communication Media Arts.”

Kaunfer also said that he could not quite wrap his head around the idea of what it meant to graduate, but that it would eventually feel real to him.

“It feels very surreal. I feel like most people feel like change is very sudden but it’s more gradual. When it hits, it will hit,” he said.

Amanda Lau, another graduating senior said that she felt excitement upon completing the ceremony. She also said that her college plans will be taking her out of state.

“I just feel very excited right now,” Lau said. “It’s a very proud moment that I was able to graduate with all my classmates who I’ve known since kindergarten and pre-k. [After graduation] I plan on attending UMass Amherst and studying business.”

Lau also said that graduation was bittersweet for her, but she was excited by the possibility of what is to come.

“I’m very sad because all of us grew up together, but I’m happy to embark on a new journey and see what the future holds.”

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