POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Attendees of the 121st Point Pleasant Beach High School commencement adorned themselves with blankets, umbrellas, jackets and rain boots as the less-than-ideal weather did not stop the graduation from taking place outdoors on Wednesday, June 21.
While the weather was cold and rainy, district Business Administrator Brian Savage admitted that this weather was nothing compared to the outdoor rainstorm attendees endured last year.
Salutatorian Noah Foukarakis opened the ceremonies with his speech touching on the past four years of high school and how it will shape the future ahead for all of the graduates.
“When we first arrived here at 710 Avenue in September of 2019, not a single person here expected our journey to be anything like it was, it certainly wasn’t easy” said Mr. Foukarakis. “We preserved through the obstacles of new teachers, a new building and a new experience.”
Mr. Foukarakis reminisced about the class’s trials and tribulations during COVID, losing his wallet during the senior trip and homecoming traditions. He also took time to thank the teachers who helped him throughout his high school career from English to anatomy.
“The light, even though it was closer than ever before, was still a distant glimmer, at least that is what we thought at the start of our senior year,” said Mr. Foukarakis. “September of 2023 seemed so long ago, but at the same time, feels like yesterday.”
The valedictorian Rachel Arzt followed her classmates’ sentiment by discussing the “magnitude of the moment” and all of the hard work it took to get here.
“It is hard to fathom that in a few short moments we will be finished with high school forever,” said Ms. Arzt. “It was a day we never thought would arrive, a day that seemingly could not move fast enough and it is a day that does not feel real.”
Ms. Arzt also congratulated her fellow students for getting through four years of high school while dealing with struggles silently. She mentioned the difficulty of getting through school while dealing with losing important sports games, difficult family circumstances, a friend group falling apart or just getting out of bed in the morning. She assured fellow graduates that the feat they accomplished was not small and should be celebrated.
“The fact that you were strong enough to persevere through these difficulties while simultaneously handling the weight of academics, is proof that we are prepared for whatever the future holds,” said Ms. Arzt.
Ms. Arzt also thanked family and friends for all of their guidance and support throughout the years. She expressed that the graduation was not just an achievement for the students, but for the families as well.
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