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HILLSBOROUGH: High school sends off 560 graduates (updated, more pix)

Shannon Bain and her dog

BY Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
Hillsborough High School beat the sun, heat, humidity and possible showers by holding its 45th graduation ceremony inside the air-conditioned Sun Bank Arena in Trenton on Thursday afternoon.
With Mother Nature mollified, the event only had to overcome a bus accident with the previous school’s graduation in the arena that pushed the start of Hillsborough’s ceremony back one-half hour.
The floor of the arena was awash in a sea of red gowns and mortarboards of the 560 listed graduates, as viewers could alternate watching the people on the floor or the closeups on the Jumbotron overhead.
Salutatorian Vinay Ravinder gave the main address. He urged classmates to never be satisfied, only content.
“We are sitting here today because through all the tough times and all the good times, we kept looking ahead, toward the future,” he said. “We set goals for ourselves, sometimes small and sometimes large, and we pursued those goals undaunted by any obstacles that stood in our way.
“Remember this day and remember how much we’ve accomplished already,” he said. “Now that we’ve reached this milestone let’s start working on the next one.”
Class President Tyler San Fillippo announced the class gift of 2016 is donating metal trash cans — “really nice ones” — to the school and also giving money to the incoming freshman class for its spirit night and other activities.
He added observations of his own.
“What made this school special, is all that we have learned outside of class,” he said. “Many of us got involved in sports and clubs, striving to be the best, exploring our hobbies — all of which taught us consistency and dedication.”
The school’s Spirit Night, which pits the four classes in an evening of games and making noise, seemed to have made an impression on Tyler.
“It had us all working with groups of people that we never thought we would work with,” Tyler said. “Everyone was able to have a part. Everyone’s different proficiencies were so fundamental to make that night our own, and at the end, it united us, as we basked in the culmination of all of our efforts.”
Principal Karen Bingert addressed the sea of red seated in front of her with “Class of 2016, your day has arrived.”
“Yesterday, you were a child,” she told the students. “Today, you are graduate. Tomorrow, you venture into adulthood . . . There will be moments as adults when you will feel like a child and wish that someone else would take your hand and lead you, but the leader is now you.”
“This moment, right now, take it in. Relish it. Breathe it deeply,” she said. “You are Raiders, and you bleed cardinal red, and today, you are golden.”
Superintendent Jorden Schiff told the audience that one unique aspect of his job allows him to start the day with 2-foot-tall preschoolers full of laughter and silliness, and end the day with 6-foot tall seniors — also full of laughter and silliness.
The superintendent praised the class accomplishments, and said 91 percent of the graduates will go on to college or advanced learning.

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