WILDWOOD — There were songs, speeches, a Pledge of Allegiance and processions to “Pomp and Circumstance,” with an ending that included a Wildwood High School diploma for 77 graduates at the school’s 107th commencement Friday night.
A standing-room-only crowd of family, friends and school staff packed the school’s auditorium, which has an occupancy rating of 684 people. They were not disappointed at a school love-fest of sorts.
“I’ve never been as proud of myself or my peers as graduating a Wildwood Warrior,” said Senior Class President Maggie Parsons.
Spirit for the school she is leaving behind and those who taught her was evident in the speech by Valedictorian Danielle Aydelotte.
“We’ve never been more grateful to our educators, whom we have grown to love and respect. They have shaped us into the individuals we all aspired to be,” Aydelotte said.
Aydelotte talked about classmate accomplishments, such as a 1,000-point scorer in basketball, a student with acting abilities, one heading to a Division 1 college to play football and “everybody standing on this stage” passing the High School Proficiency Test. She said the class has talent.
“After tonight there is one more goal to life that we must obtain — to be successful,” Aydelotte said.
Her advice to her classmates was to “stay true to yourself” to live a successful life.
“As we live our lives and form into grown adults, we all intend to live a life that is true and that we have created by ourselves, not following someone else,” Aydelotte said.
Salutatorian Anthony Madle said the connection the class formed in September 2009 has grown stronger and “today we stand here as one big Warrior family.” He said the future is so bright there is no reason “to fret on what we are leaving behind.”
“The potential of this class is unreal,” Madle said.
But even though the impact on Wildwood High has been made, Madle said, they still have to leave their mark on the world. Quoting actor Denzel Washington, he said nothing in life is worthwhile without taking risks, but always “fall forward.” Madle said failed experiments are one step closer to success. He told his classmates they will fail, lose, be bad at things and embarrass themselves at times.
“Never look back. Give everything you’ve got. And when you fall throughout life, fall forward.”
Madle also said don’t give in to peer pressure but “be yourself” and don’t follow someone else’s path, except under unique circumstances.
“Unless you’re lost in the woods and you see a path, then by all means, you should follow it,” Madle said.
Principal Christopher Armstrong said the class is special in many ways.
“They offer us hope for the future,” Armstrong said.
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