EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The township’s sprawling high school graduated its largest class ever Thursday evening — 670 students, according to the program, or five more than last year’s formerly largest-ever class.
Seniors lined up in the parking lot before the ceremony, walking single-file onto the field.
But the line wrapped around the building and it took more than 20 minutes for everyone to get onto the township football field. And once in their seats, the seats were arrayed in a semi-circle from one 15-yard line to the other— a 210-foot spread.
While they walked, a single banner plane circled several times overhead, wishing “Happy retirement Marge F.”
The graduates’ family and friends more than filled the field’s 3,000-person bleachers, leaving visitors to stand four and five people deep at the fence nearest the graduates and take photos.
Salutatorian William R. Grant reminisced about the passage of time, saying, “The days I do remember most vividly amid the blurry details are the ones where dreams and friendships are perpetuated. The days feel longer when one is working toward the future rather than in the present.”
But, he said, role models have guided our lives until now, when the next step must be taken. “The butterflies in our stomachs are nothing more than a confirmation that our path is true,” Grant said, “just begging for the confidence to make that next step.”
Remember these experiences and let them guide you, he said.
Omolola G. Agabalogun, the class valedictorian, talked about how the class got to this point and what may lie in store.
“In these past four years, these past 4,320 hours spent in that building, we have changed. We have grown physically, mentally and emotionally,” she said. “We have matured. Well, most of us.”
Agabalogun thanked school staff and her family for getting her to this point. “Though we have come to a pinnacle of success in our young lives, we must remember that we are destined for so much more. For us, graduation is just the beginning.”
She encouraged students to dream big.
“We should not be content with mediocrity. We must not be satisfied with average. We must not be complacent,” Agabalogun said. “To the future thinkers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, artists, musicians, politicians and world-changers behind me, go forward and make waves. Do what people consider to be the impossible. Stay hungry and stay foolish.”
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