More than 220 students graduated from Elmwood Park High School in a ceremony held Sunday, May 20, at EPHS Main Gym as proud family members and friends cheered their approval.
Valedictorian Talia Nuzzo, salutatorian Sarah Ashby, Student Council president Daniel Spathies and senior class president Christopher Grimpe addressed their classmates during the ceremony, which began at noon and lasted approximately an hour.
"In the past four years, the most important thing I gained was the confidence to not allow others to define who I am," Ms. Nuzzo told her classmates. "Each of us is capable of amazing things, but not if we allow ourselves to be held back.
"To become the person you want to be," Ms. Nuzzo continued, "to find what makes you happy in life, you must take control of your own narrative and refuse to allow criticism or rejection to prevent you from evolving and becoming the person you know yourself to be."
PHOTO: Members of the Class of 2018 march to the sound of "Pomp & Circumstance" as the graduation ceremony begins. D401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for a larger view).
Principal Mr. Douglas Wildes presided over the ceremony, which included musical selections performed by the EPHS Combined Choirs and the EPHS Band, directed respectively by Mr. Michael Popplewell and Mr. Kyle Rhoades.
Also speaking at the event were District 401 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicolas D. Wade and Board of Education President Mrs. Mary Bruscato.
Mrs. Bruscato accepted the class gift from Mr. Grimpe. The gift consisted of two new Tiger mascot suits and a bench that will be installed in front of the school in memory of former EPHS art teacher Katherine "Katie" Mussio, who died in September 2017 at the age of 57.
PHOTO: Board of Education President Mrs. Mary Bruscato accepts the senior class gift from Christopher Grimpe, class president. D401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for a larger view).
As the ceremony began, the first seniors to enter the gym were Ms. Nuzzo, Ms. Ashby and the rest of the Class of 2018's academic top 10 percent:
Natalie Alvarado, Robert Bibrowicz, Christian Caballero, Justin Capule, Sarah Coleman, Julian Delgado, Christopher Grimpe, Nikolai Hristov, William Jordan, Thomas Lach, Lauren Mendoza, Patrick Mendoza, Elma Rama, Daniela Salgado, Devon Schumann, Nima Shafikhani and Daniel Spathies.
When it came time for the seniors to receive their diplomas, their names were read by EPHS guidance counselors Mrs. Paige Kozyra, Mr. Joseph Kraft and Mrs. Alison Till. The ceremony ended with a tossing of the caps — some of which sported rather elaborate decorations. (See photos below for examples.)
Afterward, the new graduates hugged their loved ones, posed for pictures and enjoyed the moment — a fitting end to four years of hard work by students and parents alike.
Congratulations, Class of '18!
Photos from the 2018 EPHS Graduation Ceremony