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‘The days are long, but the years are short’

High school sends '24 grads on their way to the future

Police escort in tow, members of Moorestown High School’s Class of 2024 cruised down Main Street on June 20, on their way to Project Graduation.

But not before celebrating commencement.

“Graduation signifies the end of a chapter of our lives and the opening of another one,” said salutatorian Luke Steene. “It is also a celebration of completing high school and all the memories made during it, and of course, we will receive our diplomas at the end of the night, which we have all worked very hard for.

“What comes next is up to us,” he added. “Right now, even as we are all reflecting on our experiences at Moorestown High School. In about an hour, we won’t be high-school students anymore.”

Steene also addressed the graduates’ approach to success.

“ … My takeaway is to focus on the process, how you achieve your version of success, not necessarily perfecting the end result, as that will come with the process that you build over time,” he observed. “ … Sometimes you will find that what you originally wanted will change, and you might need to adjust your process in a way that works better for you …

“Make the things that make you and those around you happy and fulfilled, a part of your process,” Steene continued. “Class of 2024, although in an hour we will all no longer be high-school students, you will still be the ‘you’ that you have built up this far, and whatever you want you to look like in the future, is up to you.”

Valedictorian Meera Sholevar started her address by asking for a round of applause for Principal Andrew Seibel, assistant principals Don Williams and Shawn Counard, school Superintendent Joseph Bollendorf, members of the board of education, teachers and counselors.

Last, but certainly not least, were parents and siblings in attendance who supported the graduates over the years.

“Fellow graduates, as we celebrate the end of our time here at Moorestown High School, many of us look towards the future,” Sholevar stated. “For some of us, that means the military or college, and for others, trade school or the workforce.

“Regardless of what comes next for you, I have a few messages that I’d like to send you off with,” she added. “To start, I want you to be confident in your abilities … Look for inspiration in your past and take what you have learned out into the world to make it a better place, in whatever large and small ways.”

“Secondly, have the strength to redefine yourself and your path,” Sholevar added. “ … At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what you love and what fulfills you. Change is scary, more times than not, but you’re moving in the right direction if you’re trying to find or pursue what brings you joy.”

If there’s one thing Sholevar wished for the Class of 2024, it was to enjoy the journey.

“Do whatever makes you proud at the end of the day,” she remarked. “We are an amazing class of athletes, artists, volunteers and givers, (who) have already made the world a better place, and will continue to do so …

“As many of us take on new cities, states and countries on our journeys,” Sholevar continued, “we will always share an identity as the Moorestown High School Class of 2024, a class that has overcome challenges and demonstrated immense goodwill over our years together.”

After remarks from senior class President Charles Schlindwein, Seibel and Bollendorf, students received their diplomas. Just before that, board of education President Mark Villanueva said a few closing words.

“ … While I wanted to avoid cliches in this speech, the adage that ‘the days are too long but the years are shorter’ rings particularly true tonight, for parents especially,” he pointed out. “ … But after what seemed like long and endless days of running around to do anything and everything that you could for your kids, to give them everything that you have to give, in the blink of an eye, we’re here tonight to celebrate the next chapter of your child’s life and your life as parents.

“ … To the soon-to-be graduates, while all of you have no doubt made amazing accomplishments in your life, you’re just at the beginning of your journey, which is a beautiful place to be,” Villanueva added. “ … No matter what your path may be, I encourage all of you to embrace change.

“Life will bring you twists and turns you never expected, and you should embrace those changes with open arms …”

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