‘Make the most of every moment’

Class of 2023 throw their caps in the air to officially conclude their Princeton High School graduation on June 15. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Princeton High School graduating seniors closed their high school years with a message of perseverance, resilience and being bold.

With many graduation caps decorated with university logos or graduation celebration messages, the seniors wearing their blue caps and gowns walked across the stage, diplomas in hand on the front lawn of PHS to end one life chapter and begin another.

Decorated senior caps for Class of 2023 graduation on Princeton High School front lawn. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Class of 2023 graduation processional. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

“From our teachers to our coaches to our counselors and to our four principals over the years, everyone in this school has been here believing in us without fail for the last four years,” said Matthew Baglio, president of the Class of 2023 on June 15.

He encouraged his fellow graduating seniors that no matter how hard the challenges they face and wherever life takes them there are people who believe in them.

“In the words of Ted Lasso, ‘if you care about someone and you have got a little love in your heart there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together,'” Baglio said. “Never stop listening to the Ted Lassos in your life, the people who tell you to believe in yourself, because they are never wrong.”

As the sun set, Seniors Anna Terry spoke on the concept of spirit, Jordy Paredes delivered remarks on achievement, Chirag Ponnada spoke on community and Kyra Mehta remarked on the future as part of the Class Senior Address.

“So, what brings us here together? The parent response is graduation, but have you ever thought about what this momentous occasion has cost you?” Paredes asked. “These past four years have been full of challenges.

“Each of you have persisted through tough times, whether in school or your personal life. You have had to make numerous sacrifices to get to where you are.”

Paredes highlighted the importance of resilience.

“To me resilience is the ability to bounce back when faced with a challenge in unexpected situations,” he said. “About three years ago, I lost my home in a fire. I did not take the situation well at first. But I soon realized that life must go on for me and my family. This was arguably the lowest point of my life thus far, but I kept my head up.”

Rediscovering who he was and what he wanted after the fire took his North Main Street home in Cranbury, Paredes got a new position at Teddy’s, a local restaurant in town.

“Since then, everyone has known me as the sweet boy who is always welcoming to the customers,” he said. “But have they asked themselves why is he so positive, pleasant and friendly? Probably not. But I am the way I am, because of resilience during tough times.”

Paredes stressed to his fellow graduates that they must keep their “heads up” at all times in a world that is not full of sunshine and rainbows.

“Make the most of every moment and don’t forget what made you who you are,” he said. “As each of you embarks on your next venture, don’t forget to remember what you already have accomplished and the lessons you have learned along the way.

“Please remember that each of you has the courage and strength to overcome anything that attempts to impede your goal.”

Jordy Paredes (left) walks across the stage after receiving his diploma. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Mehta urged fellow seniors to step outside of their comfort zones in the future.

“Be bold, take risks,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to dream. So far what I have learned that I can share with all of you is that in order to take risks and be bold, you need to have confidence and believe in yourself.”

Mehta said she is reminded by her mother about being true to herself.

“In this crazy world that we live in, it can be easy to get swept away by what everyone else is doing,” she said. “Forcing us to constantly fit in all the time and constantly comparing ourselves to the person next to us. However, if we are just brave enough to be ourselves, this world could be a whole lot more special.”

Rohun Chivate (center) hugs his father, Pramod Chivate, Cranbury Board of Education President, as he receives his diploma on June 15. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Diana Delacruz (right) receives her diploma at PHS graduation in Princeton. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Zoe Eby (right) shakes hands as she receives her diploma. PHOTO BY ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF

Whether going off to college, commuting from home, joining the workforce or military, or taking a gap year, Kathie Foster, interim principal, said graduation takes the seniors to the threshold of a new part of their lives.

“For each of you is a gift,” she said. “Listen to that inner wisdom deep within you and use your heart to see the world and each other with kindness, compassion and acceptance.

“As you go from here, I encourage you to study, work, speak and play by heart and know that our hearts go with you.”