MILLVILLE - Millville High School's Class of 2013 graduated Wednesday - finally.
Graduation came a day later than planned, as the ceremony originally scheduled for Tuesday was rescheduled because of heavy rains.
On Wednesday, the members of the school's 131st graduating class got their diplomas under blue skies at John Barbose Stadium at Wheaton Field on Broad Street. Student speakers said they all had much for which to be grateful.
"From the Class of 2013 will come college-bound scholars who will go off and utilize the best of what they learned here in a new environment," valedictorian Jesse Spinelli said. "From the Class of 2013 will come a strong, determined work force. From the Class of 2013 will come dedicated patriots destined to serve their country."
Spinelli called graduation "an amazing experience."
"It can be viewed as a day of closure or a day of new beginnings, as a simple day honoring accomplishment or a climactic end to a great achievement, as a day worthy of remembrance or as a prelude to more memorable days to come," he said.
Haleigh Sockwell, one of two salutatorians, said the success of this year's graduation class can be shared with more than the effort by its students.
"The people of Millville are really just perfect," she said. "The whole community and parents are always supporting the school. We have some of the greatest teachers here since they care so much, our coaches do outstanding jobs with their sport, and I completely adore our administrators."
All of that will make graduating somewhat sad, said Sockwell, who then gave her classmates some advice.
"Work hard, don't stop fighting, enjoy those around you and above all, just smile and laugh," she said.
The other salutatorian, Jerome File, told the class to "hold onto our hope."
"As we go turn-by-turn, we gain invaluable experiences," File said. "These experiences may not be useful at the present moment, but they might be two, three, 10 years down the road. The … experiences that we gain at each turn in our duel with life oftentimes are best to hold on to. They have a funny way of coming to the forefront of our minds when we need them most.
"We have learned what we could and prepared ourselves in the best way we have available," he continued. "It always comes down to the luck of the draw, but no matter who we are in our duels … we can strive forward with hope, knowing that all things can work together for our good."
Millville High School has students from the city and Maurice River, Commercial and Lawrence townships in Cumberland County, and Woodbine in Cape May County.
"We embrace and are proud of our diversity," Millville Senior High School Principal Kathleen Procopio said.
Procopio said 78 percent of the 433 graduates plan on some form of higher education. About 8 percent are headed to the U.S. military, she said.
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