WEST ORANGE, NJ – Families of 251 graduates filled the auditorium at West Orange High School (WOHS) as Liberty Middle School graduated its eighth-grade students in a midday ceremony last week.
Liberty Principal Bob Klemt congratulated the students and parents on their accomplishments, stating that ceremonies like this provide opportunities to reflect on achievements and memories from the past two years.
“For me, it has been very rewarding watching each of you interact in class and learn,” he said. “You have all matured and grown socially and have accomplished so much—whether that’s earning Honor Roll grades, serving on our award-winning Student Council, helping your sports team to victory, or being one of the many students recognized at our academic and related arts awards assembly this morning.”
Klemt also discussed the students’ commitment to community service and said it was gratifying seeing how many students became involved in the Liberty community, which is something the Liberty staff continually encouraged.
“Many watched or were involved in the February Talent Show; many participated in the play ‘Alice in Wonderland;’ a large number created displays and performed at the Cultural Expo; and so many were active in our after-school clubs, our 11 sports teams, and the various school spirit events, such as Character Day, Advisory contests, and school dances,” said Klemt. “The colorful locker signs and my ongoing Twitter feed were evidence of everyone’s school participation.”
He encouraged the students to get involved once they enter WOHS.
“I would encourage each of you to continue participation in school and service activities during the next four years,” he said. “Competing on any of the 20-or-so sports teams WOHS offers, joining the marching band or step teams, or participating in the wide range of after school clubs would certainly enrich your high school experience…On behalf of the entire staff, we wish the Liberty Class of 2018 congratulations and best wishes in the years to follow.”
WOHS Principal Hayden Moore welcomed the graduates to the high school and underscored the importance of working hard and getting involved. Moore’s daughter, Mia, was one of the graduates who will be attending the high school in the fall.
The Liberty orchestra performed Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” under the direction of Dave Rimelis.
Special awards included the “Liberty Awards of Distinction,” given to Stephany Andrade and Brianna Dannemiller and presented by Assistant Principal Michelle Martino. Klemt presented the West Orange Community Mayor's Award to Aaliyah Kamalei and Soham Bhatnagar.
Creative Achievement award winners Rhoda Oni, Trinity Rojas and Tesia Thomas read their works to an appreciative audience. WOHS junior Rebecca Dannemiller, a former Liberty student, encouraged the incoming freshmen as she welcomed them.
Guidance counselor Stephanie Nesbit then presented Awards of Academic Excellence to students with straight “A” report cards for both seventh and eighth grade, and the awarding of diplomas began.
Following the “Pomp and Circumstance” recessional, students posed for photos with friends and family outside before heading to their Graduation Dance in the WOHS Tarnoff Cafeteria.
All photos were provided by Cynthia Cumming, communications coordinator for the West Orange school district