HIGHTSTOWN: Graduation 2014

HHS holds ceremonies at Sun National Bank Center

By Ed Birch. Special Writer
TRENTON — Hightstown High School celebrated its 100th Annual Commencement at the Sun Bank Center in Trenton for a class of 332 graduates on Tuesday.
"This has truly been a memorable year as my first year as principal of this great school," said Principal Dennis Vinson, Jr. in ending his address to the graduates. "You would be surprised how much a new principal can learn just by having lunch with the students of this school. Not only did I learn about how small the lunch portions were, I also learned the ins and outs of school life from the student’s perspective."
"Our (graduating) class strives to be extremely well rounded with each commitment that they made, whether it be athletics, academics, clubs, or jobs, they put in 100 percent of their effort," according to University of Massachusetts-Amherst bound Class President Leah Chen.
The 17-year-old Hightstown resident stated that "graduates are going to over six dozen colleges in nearly 30 states, and one student will be spending their first semester in Israel."
This includes Allie Nickerson, who is receiving a full tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt University and two athletes Kelly Mankowich and Dante Perez and close to 100 other graduates will be moving on to Rutgers University.
The Senior Class of 2014 presented the class gift, a new podium, which was presented by Class Vice Presidents Emily LeBlanc (University of South Carolina), Andrew Taylor (Ohio State), and Danielle Solomon (Rutgers). In addition, the officers unveiled the banner representing the senior class.
Class Valedictorians Courtney Lenzo (Lehigh University) and Katarzyna Dobrzycka (Rutgers University) addressed the crowd.
"It wasn’t long ago that we rode on those yellow school buses and even less time has passed since we unlocked the mysteries of combination locks, yet we have all grown so much over the past 13 years." said Ms. Lenzo. "The diversity at Hightstown goes far deeper tan the ethnic or superficial differences. It all comes down to what we’re passionate about. We have classes like painting and woodshop with students who create beautiful things, from self-portraits to ukuleles."
"I look into this crowd of graduates before me and I see lawyers, doctors, and maybe a couple of Mega Million lottery winners," said Ms. Dobrzycka. "Let’s be honest, for the next four to eight years, we’re all going to be broke students, so get used to it. Always remember each other, and know that we will always share these proud roots off of (NJ Turnpike) Exit 8, where there will always be a home away from home waiting for us, in describing the home of the Rams, where the students were graduating from."
Edward J. Forsthoffer III, the outgoing Superintendent of Schools in the district, welcomed the graduation class, acknowledged their accomplishments, and pronounced them as graduates.
After moments of traditional hugs and kisses among the students, the airwaves were quickly filled with a sea of blue and white graduation caps that were flung into the air.
The graduates left the facility to the tune of "Circus Days" played by the Hightstown High School Band.