Class of 2018 graduates at the Liacouras Center

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Class of 2018 graduates at the Liacouras Center

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The commencement of the Cherry Hill East Class of 2018 was held at the Liacouras Center at Temple University in Philadelphia at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19.

While doors did not open until 3 p.m., by 2:30 the lobby was already packed with families, friends, teachers and supporters of the graduating class.

Teachers and administrators wore black gowns and caps, while male students wore red and females wore white. After the procession, students were seated alphabetically by their last names. Certain students, such as the valedictorians, the Student Government Association (SGA) officers and the readers for the ceremony, sat up on stage at the front of the Center, alongside senior class advisors Ms. Holly Sassinsky and Ms. Sarah Cervo, the Board of Education representatives, Principal Dr. Dennis Perry and Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche.

During the ceremony, dozens of awards and scholarships were granted to students throughout the class for their talents, work ethics and dedication to the school. Four students were recognized for their decision to enroll in the United States Armed Forces, including one young man whom we “did not see [rise] because he is already in basic training,” according to Assistant Principal Dr. Matthew Covington.

The valedictorians of the Class of 2018 were Hyder Alikhan, Nishaad Khedkar, Elizabeth Winslow, Lily Yang and Audrey Yeung.

Maggie Dippner (‘18) was selected to read her speech as the opening remarks of the ceremony.

“We are too worried about percentage points, what kind of car we drive, and who went to a party with whom … all of us deserve to look back on our years at East with nothing but joy,” said Dippner, addressing the class. “Our friends and memories at East will be what propel us to keep going. This is just the beginning of our adult lives, and we are more than prepared.”

Maddie Levin (‘18), SGA school-wide president, gave a speech refuting the “cupcake generation” stereotype that labels modern teenagers as lazy and overly sensitive.

“While we are often accused of being the ‘participation trophy’ generation, we should take pride in our willingness to participate,” Levin said. “… Far from being apathetic, those [trophies] turned us into an involved and engaged generation. In you [Class of 2018], I see learners and leaders, risk-takers and dreamers … a generation that is ready to change the world.”

Jillian Rivera (‘18), senior class president, gave her address to the class as a recap of the general student experience at East.

“Life is defined by a combination of countless small moments we go through everyday, not a string of a few major moments and highlights that we put up on Instagram,” she said.

The closing remarks were given by Ricky Iuliucci (‘18).

“When you look back on [your memories here] with your family, friends or one day, your own children, no one can look you in the eye and say you have maxed out your full potential … because the best times of your life will always be ahead of you, so long as you choose to fight for them today,” he said. “Today is not the best day of your life.”

Members of East’s choir groups, including the seniors who sang in front of the others, sang the national anthem, “Go The Distance” from Hercules, and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

Next year’s Class of 2019 graduation will occur in June 2019, date to be determined.

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