VINELAND — Student speakers at Vineland High School’s graduation told their classmates Thursday they are well prepared to meet their future.
Unlike other years, the graduating class gathered on the field of Gittone Memorial Stadium heard from an extra valedictorian, a situation caused by challenges to the way the school district computed the class ranking.
While that debate drew media attention a few weeks ago, there was no mention of it during the graduation ceremony from co-valedictorians Blake Pescatore and Ivonna Dumanyan and salutatorian Matthew Wolfe.
Pescatore likened members of the graduating class to super heroes who people read about in comic books.
“We’ve all fought battles against homework, essays and tests,” Pescatore said. “We’ve vanquished scan-trons and open-ended questions. We’ve glowed from the praise of our peers after a superhuman feat, like stuffing an entire chicken patty in your mouth at once.
“We’ve all been the sidekick at one point. We’ve wrestled with locker combinations and then thrown temper tantrums that put the Incredible Hulk to shame. We’ve each declared an arch nemesis. For some, it’s the vending machines in V-wing that rarely give you the drink you ask for.”
Pescatore said the students “changed into better versions of ourselves, just like Clark Kent does when he steps into a phone booth.”
“Like these heroes in the pages of comic books, we didn’t fight these battles or grow into our potential on our own,” she said. “We had had some amazing mentors to guide us along the way.”
In her speech, Dumanyan said many of the graduates would not be “standing here today if it wasn’t for a teach, coach, family member or team who belelieved in us.”
“When we walk through the doors of Vineland High, we assume the rolls of student, athlete, actor, artist, musician, politicians, sometimes all at one,” she said. “It really makes me wonder what we will accomplish years from now. With such potential and practical preparation, I know we can handle anything.”
Wolfe said his classmates went through some unique experiences during the past four years.
“I think about the word unique, and how it applies specifically to our class,” he said. “I believe that our class genuinely represents an unparalleled body of talent. There are students sitting on the bleachers that have pushed the boundaries of both academic excellence and athletics.
“I look forward to becoming one of the many successful students that graduated in Vineland High School’s Class of 2012.”
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