Graduates from Cherry Hill East and West look back at their high school experience

On June 16, the class of 2016 from both Cherry Hill high schools graduated during ceremonies at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Everyone’s high school experience is different.

Cherry Hill High School West graduate Owen Barrett spent his time participating in numerous clubs and sports teams.

Cherry Hill High School East grad Brett Dashevsky’s passion was being involved with student government.

Another Cherry Hill West graduate, Rebecca Horner, was president of the National Honor Society.

Cherry Hill East grad Charlotte Montgomery loved getting involved in Spirit Week with her friends.

All four students spent their time in high school differently, but all four had similar feelings in the days leading up to their high school graduation last week.

Last Thursday, seniors from Cherry Hill East and Cherry Hill West bid farewell to high school and said hello to their future as they received their high school diplomas. Each high school held a graduation ceremony at the Liacouras Center at Temple University.

“I’m definitely nervous, but I’m very excited,” Montgomery said prior to graduation. “It’s going to be hard, because it’s going to be our official goodbye to the high school.”

Montgomery got to speak in front of her peers at last week’s ceremony. Montgomery was chosen to speak after she entered a contest where seniors write a speech and submit it to a committee. The speeches are read anonymously and the best ones make it to the second round. In the second round, each of the speechwriters had to give their speech in front of the committee. Montgomery’s speech was chosen for graduation.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Montgomery said. “I always wanted to speak at graduation.”

As president of the National Honor Society, Horner was chosen as a speaker for Cherry Hill West’s graduation. Looking back on her high school career, Horner’s favorite memories revolved around sports.

“The two that have stood out are sporting events, whether I’m sitting in the stands or on the field with the soccer team or the dance team,” Horner said. “Being part of a team is really fun.”

Dashevsky also enjoyed participating in student activities at Cherry Hill East. He enjoyed them so much that one of the reasons he decided to join the student government association was to help plan activities for his peers. Dashevsky was the SGA president this past school year.

“I kind of wanted all of my fellow classmates to have a great high school experience where I could plan events for them,” he said. “We planned events like homecoming. We did 3-on-3 basketball tournaments and fundraisers that impacted everybody.”

Barrett felt he got the most of his high school experience. He participated in cross country, bowling, track and field, wrestling and photography club at some point over the past four years.

“My favorite high school memory for me was when I got team all-conference for cross country,” Barrett recalled. “I was shocked at first, but at the end I felt so good because I had worked hard for four years to get that achievement.”

Students from both high schools will be pursuing a wide variety of majors at schools all over the country. Some students, such as Dashevsky and Horner, will go to school away from home. Dashevsky will be heading to University of Maryland in the fall, while Horner will enroll at the University of Indiana. Others, such as Montgomery and Barrett, will stay in the area. Montgomery is going to Villanova University in the fall, and Barrett will enroll at The College of New Jersey.

Regardless of each of the graduates’ destinations, all agree they will miss the community at their respective high school.

“As soon as I started maturing and coming out of my shell, I quickly realized I was making friends, and I realized how my true friends are,” Barrett said. “It was a good four years to challenge myself and achieve what I wanted to achieve.”

“I think I’m going to miss the relationships I make with the teachers and the students,” Montgomery said. “It’s really a good environment that we have.”