Brick Township HS class of ’17 graduates, then skies open

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Some Brick Township High School seniors, delighted to be graduating. STEVE WEXLER / THE OCEAN STAR

BRICK TOWNSHIP — Despite the threat of thunderstorms, the Brick Township High School class of 2017 became alumni Monday.

Three students were able to address their class and deliver their sendoff speeches, along with Principal William Kleissler, before a cloudburst ended the ceremony.

“Together we can inspire galaxies of greatness for generations to come. No, the sky is not the limit, it is only the beginning. Lift off!” said Valedictorian Angel Pan, who finished addressing his class moments before the skies opened up.

Angel, who will be attending Stanford University where he will study computer science, made the message clear to his classmates — failure is a friend, not a foe. “Everyone fails, even the most successful people. To be human is to be flawed, and to be flawed is to fail,” he said.

Racing the impending storm, Mr. Kleissler digressed from the itinerary with the decision to distribute diplomas earlier in the program allowing the class of 2017 to officially graduate without a drop of rain on their gowns.

Mr.  Kleissler first addressed the senior class referencing singer/songwriter Bob Dylan and his song, “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

Inspiring his students to keep creating under whatever circumstance.

“Each of you are artists, that have created a 12-year masterpiece, it is up to you to decide what to paint next,” he said. “You can choose another canvas and paint anew, you can start all over on the same canvas but whatever you decide to do, I encourage you to keep painting.”