Robbinsville High School bids farewell to 209 Ravens leaving the nest

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Kyle Alston (left), Nick Brennan (center) and Alexandra Angeli enjoy a lighthearted moment during Robbinsville High School’s graduation exercises on June 21.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Kyle Alston (left), Nick Brennan (center) and Alexandra Angeli enjoy a lighthearted moment during Robbinsville High School’s graduation exercises on June 21.

The Class of 2013 graduated from Robbinsville High School in a sun-drenched ceremony marked by laughter and tears as they celebrated, with diplomas in hand and caps tossed skyward, the end of one journey and the start of the next.

And, oh, the places they’ll go.

The 209 seniors – RHS’s sixth graduating class and the largest to date – will be attending colleges and universities as far away as Arizona and Florida, Michigan and Massachusetts, and many states in between. This fall, RHS alumni will be on the campuses of the nation’s most prestigious universities, including Princeton, Notre Dame, Fordham, the University of Pennsylvania and others.

Board of Education President Mike Reca congratulated the graduating class, noting they had distinguished themselves with achievements that would be remembered for many years to come.

“You have excelled in so many different areas, academics, drama, music, robotics, business and athletics just to name a few,” Reca said.  “You clearly never met a competition you didn’t like.”

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Jafar Zaki gives onlookers a thumbs up.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Jafar Zaki gives onlookers a thumbs up.

Keynote speaker and 2012 Teacher of the Year Santford Overton reminded the hundreds of proud parents and guests who packed the bleachers inside the football stadium Friday night, June 21 what some of those achievements were: The Raven Regiment marching band being selected to represent the State of New Jersey at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii last year; the RHS robotics team finishing 12th among 2,000 teams at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis; the numerous county and state records broken by the school’s track and field athletes, as well as the girls varsity softball team winning their second state title in three years.

The Class of 2013 also had two groups of student entrepreneurs compete at the International Trade Show in New York where they won awards for their virtual enterprise snack companies. Others distinguished themselves on stage or through community service projects. Some RHS students made their marks academically, with perfect SATs, or the highest possible score (5) on AP end-of-course exams.

Andrew Clark, a senior with a 4.5 grade point average – the highest in the graduating class – as well as a perfect math SAT score was awarded the valedictorian medal by Assistant Superintendent Kathie Foster.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Lauren Guididas blows bubbles during a pause in the speeches.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Lauren Guididas blows bubbles during a pause in the speeches.

Clark, a varsity baseball player who is also a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, will attend the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College this fall where he will be majoring in bioengineering. He has received the American Chemical Society Award and a $10,000 scholarship from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Foster said.

In his remarks, Clark urged his classmates to be open to new people and new possibilities on their journey because the world is not always as it seems.

“The precise certainty is that we all have a choice,” Clark said. “We have a choice to accept things how they are presented, or to understand the deeper reality… The simple act to initiate a conversation may completely disprove any prior prejudice and it may change exactly who you are.”

Christina Parylak, the senior class president, asked her classmates scattering to colleges all over the country to always keep RHS in their hearts.

“Our accomplishments have opened doors and many members of our class are going to be studying at premier universities,” Parylak said. “Whether it is Maggie O’Toole attending the University of Virginia, Justin Edelman attending the University of Maryland, Alana Jaskir attending Princeton University, Kirby Brazelton attending East Carolina University, or Steven Krebs attending West Virginia University, the Class of 2013 will be proud to represent Robbinsville High School all over the nation.”

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Conner Harding gives Zack Bryan a bear hug as the Class of 2013 celebrates after graduation.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Conner Harding gives Zack Bryan a bear hug as the Class of 2013 celebrates after graduation.

Parylak said even though the members of the class will soon be identifying themselves with their new universities and calling themselves Nittany Lions, Loyola Greyhounds, or Fairfield Stags, to name a few, they won’t forget their roots.

“No matter what we become, we always remain Ravens and always remain believers,” Parylak said.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Sam Acheampong’s cap emblazoned with “RU Ready” expresses both the question on graduates’ minds and his high education destination: Rutgers University.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Sam Acheampong’s cap emblazoned with “RU Ready” expresses both the question on graduates’ minds and his high education destination: Rutgers University.

 

 

 

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Trevor Verry, Erica Villa, Allison Whitty and Erin Wojton enter the Robbinsville High School football stadium at the start of the graduation ceremony.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Trevor Verry, Erica Villa, Allison Whitty and Erin Wojton enter the Robbinsville High School football stadium at the start of the graduation ceremony.

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Robbinsville High School graduate Alyssa Coriasco receives her diploma.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Robbinsville High School graduate Alyssa Coriasco receives her diploma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Valedictorian Andrew Clark, who is headed to the University of Pittsburgh’s Honor College to study bioengineering, prepares to address his classmates.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Valedictorian Andrew Clark, who is headed to the University of Pittsburgh’s Honor College to study bioengineering, prepares to address his classmates.

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Victoria Sankey hugs a classmate at the conclusion of the ceremony.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Victoria Sankey hugs a classmate at the conclusion of the ceremony.

 

 

Brendan Barca (center) at the commencement exercises/

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Sun                                                Brendan Barca (center) at graduation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Alana Jaskir answers a question during the keynote address.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Alana Jaskir answers a question during the keynote address.

 

 

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Tyler DeMartin receives his diploma.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Tyler DeMartin receives his diploma.

 


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