Cedar Creek’s ‘First in Four’ class moves on to next level

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Charlie Pritchard / Anjelica Andujar, 17, of Egg Harbor City and her friend Bridget Adams, 18, of Mullica Township enter the field hand-in-hand. Charlie Pritchard / Anjelica Andujar, 17, of Egg Harbor City and her friend Bridget Adams, 18, of Mullica Township enter the field hand-in-hand. EGG HARBOR CITY – The first graduating class to have attended Cedar Creek High School from “beginning to end” marched onto the school’s football field on the evening of Friday, June 20 to complete their high school journey.

Bright sunny skies warmed the spectators as the graduates, clad in their colorful red and green caps and gowns, entered the field. Following a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by Jahniece Jaffe, Class Salutatorian Brooke Chretien approached the podium to present a clever and witty, yet profound address.

“For a long time, I was truly at an utter loss as to what to say in this speech,” Chretien said. “As I often do in times of trouble, when I need guidance, I turned to the wise and always true Internet, figuring I could get some advice from those who came before me. Several You Tube videos later, I could direct you to some adorable cat videos, but still no topic.”

“Then I sat down to write. I wanted to be witty and wise, give advice to you that was meaningful to send you off into your adult life, but as someone who is still very much a “kid,” I had nothing. That’s when it hit me. What’s so wise and meaningful about being adult? Being a kid is where you do most of your learning.”

Having concluded that it is good to retain childlike qualities throughout life, she said, “It’s OK to mess up. What’s not OK is to not accept the help to fix it. No matter what you think, none of you are here today because you did this on your own; you’re all here today because someone helped you.”

She offered up one more pieces of advice.

“As you navigate the rest of your life, be open to input, as often other people think of things you never would have,” she said. “Surround yourself with people who challenge you, who inspire you, and keep them around.”

Valedictorian Leah Filardi told her classmates, “You all had some ordinary experiences that made high school, well, ordinary. The simple fact is, no matter how different and unique we all are, we all go through the same things, share similar experiences.”

Filardi found similarities among her peers in that, “We all change, we all love, we all fail and we all achieve.

“Your high school experience may seem plain and ordinary, but when you reflect back on it, I hope you realize that every experience, no matter how ordinary, whether it’s growing up, making friends or losing them, bombing tests or even just making it here, these experiences helped make your high school adventure extraordinary simply because they are yours and yours alone,” she said. “And as I look out toward all of you now, I can’t find an ordinary one in the bunch. No. When I look out toward you, all I see is extraordinary.”

Principal James Reina praised the “First in Four” graduates.

“While your time here will be measured in years, your input will be timeless,” Reina said. “You have helped to make us a school that others will seek to emulate.”

Following the awarding of the diplomas and the ceremonial changing of the tassels, the graduates marched off the field to the hit tune made popular by Pharrell Williams, “Happy.”

Judging by the smiles on their faces, a more appropriate song could not have been chosen.


 

Cedar Creek High School top ten graduates

Cedar Creek High School list of graduates

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Charlie Pritchard / Class Salutatorian Brooke Chretien gave witty, clever and profound bits of advice to her fellow classmates. Charlie Pritchard / Class Salutatorian Brooke Chretien gave witty, clever and profound bits of advice to her fellow classmates.

Charlie Pritchard / Class Valedictorian Leah Filardi told her fellow graduates to remember their times at Cedar Creek and how extraordinary they all are. Charlie Pritchard / Class Valedictorian Leah Filardi told her fellow graduates to remember their times at Cedar Creek and how extraordinary they all are.

Charlie Pritchard / Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education member Robert Ross presents a diploma to Craig Dilliplane, Jr. Charlie Pritchard / Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education member Robert Ross presents a diploma to Craig Dilliplane, Jr.

  Charlie Pritchard /  The Cedar Creek High School band entertains the crowd prior to the ceremony. Charlie Pritchard / The Cedar Creek High School band entertains the crowd prior to the ceremony.

  Charlie Pritchard / Jahniece Jaffe provides a beautiful rendition of the national anthem to start the ceremony. Charlie Pritchard / Jahniece Jaffe provides a beautiful rendition of the national anthem to start the ceremony.


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