The Hopewell Valley Central High School Class of 2022 looked forward to the future as they gathered one last time together at Ackerson Field.
During the ceremony, the graduates, dressed in black caps and gowns, as well as the high school and district administration, looked back on the memories made and talked about the future that lies ahead at the Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS) Commencement ceremony on June 22 in Pennington.
“My core memories of the Class of 2022 occurred when I was not anticipating it. When I think of the Class of 2022, I think of school spirit, whether it was theme nights in the Dog pound or standing ovations in our musicals or dance competitions at the winter prep rally,” said HVCHS Principal Patricia Riley.
Riley said when thinking of the graduating class she thinks of how they have given back to the community from the Hopewell Valley Strong T-shirt sales during the pandemic to benefit local businesses, the salute to service game to food drives for the Hopewell Valley Food pantry.
“When I think about the Class of 2022, I think about togetherness. My core memory of your togetherness from the senior sunrise back in September to the senior sunset last week is strong,” she said. “Please remember you are loved, please remember that you will be missed, and please remember you will always have a home here HVCHS.”
Delivering the student address, Senior Piper Ward, 2022 commencement speaker, asked her fellow graduates to reflect on their time at HVCHS and consider the high school bubble broken.
“Think about the 101 things you ended up learning about this place, this time, these people. Reflect on what your life here was about and let it serve as a reminder of who you were. Let it inspire who you can be,” she said. “For most of us our lives to this point have been decided on our behalf. Now it is up to us to choose. You do not have to do anything, which means you can do anything.”
Ward charged her fellow graduating classmates to find their passion, their peace and their place.
She further said, “I do not doubt that we are capable of finding our place along the way.”
In echoing Elle Woods from the movie “Legally Blonde,” she urged her classmates to “always have faith in people and most importantly you must have faith in yourself,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools Rosetta Treece praised graduates on their resilience and told them to “take pride in where they come from.”
“You have experienced a seismic shift in how we educate our students and the way we really conduct ourselves in the workplace. You proved to us that you are ready for whatever challenge life brings,” she said. “The Hopewell Valley School district is a better place because of your activism and because you stand up for what is right.”
“I have no doubt you are ready for the world and will make a difference as global citizens as you have here,” Treece said, adding “there is truly no limit to how far [the graduates] can go.”