Manasquan High School Class of 2017 graduates

Manasquan High School seniors, in procession to their graduation ceremony. STEVE WEXLER / THE COAST STAR

MANASQUAN — The members of the Manasquan High School [MHS] Class of 2017 tossed their caps up into a perfect June sunset over Vic Kubu Warrior Field last Wednesday night to celebrate the close of their high school education.

The high school’s 132nd graduation ceremony was delayed an hour due to an afternoon thunderstorm. That had no effect on attendance, as the football stadium’s bleachers were filled to capacity with the family and friends of the graduating class.

A total of 271 MHS seniors received their diploma.

The ceremony featured speeches from school Principal Rick Coppola, Class President Christopher Driscoll and Vice President Maura E. Farragher, the yearbook editors in chief Madison F. Dettlinger and Abigail J. Rice, Valedictorian Kathryn A. Callahan, Salutatorian Summer R. Farren, Superintendent Frank Kasyan, Board of Education President Thomas Pellegrino and students Karly S. Grogan and Ally Kaden.

In her Valedictorian’s speech, Kathryn addressed any classmates who may feel “stuck because of the concept of time, stuck on a path, stuck under pressure, stuck wondering, ‘Who am I?’”

“This is for those of you who never found a niche, for those of you who did but never felt completely at home, for those of you who worried when people say high school was the best four years of your lives … for those of you who think, ‘Is this really it?’ If you fall under any of those categories, even if you don’t, fear not, it will get better,” said Kathryn. “It gets so much better.”

As she closed with her speech, Kathryn left her classmates with advice her mother always gives her, quoting William Shakespeare: “To thine ownself be true.”

IMr. Kasyan reflected on the “Manasquan experience” and quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s address at Oglethorpe University in 1932.

“May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking,” quoted Mr. Kasyan.

Mr. Pellegrino proclaimed it was the greatest athletic year the school has ever seen, with six different teams winning state championships and suggested that whenever the Class of 2017 is asked the question, ‘What high school did you go to?’ they should remember back to this night, “look them in the eyes, and say ‘I went to Manasquan High School, the best damn high school in the country.”

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.