PLAISTOW — Proud family members, friends, faculty and staff members gathered at Timberlane Regional High School Saturday morning to watch 276 seniors propel themselves into the first step of adulthood during the 52nd commencement exercises.
More than 1,000 people lined two large grandstands and several stretches of grass carpeted hill to cheer on the graduates and listen to speeches from multiple students and faculty.
Each speech reflected upon different experiences while giving some advice based upon their own take of what the last four years has been like.
"June 8, 2019 is the morning where we recognize all this district has done for us and all we've done for our district," Student Council President Isabella Foster said. "Let us leap forward into our future."
Principal Donald Woodworth highlighted the graduates' success, as individuals and a class, "your leadership has set a superb example for the underclassmen."
Outstanding accomplishments such as the music program, the theater program, students who attended Salem High School and Pinkerton High School for trade training, and the 16th championship for the wrestling team, were highlighted by Woodworth.
"As a class that cares, you've looked out for each other," Woodworth said. "You've become a family, you're there for each other. You're close."
Other speech themes were humorous and easily relatable, like class essayist Adrianna Quirk's.
"Nothing has ever been black or white for me," Quirk said. "I have always been extremely indecisive."
Quirk admitting her problem of "paralysis by analysis" allowed the audience to understand and relate to the difficulty of making life decisions, and that it's okay to fail.
"Failure is crucial to success," Quirk said. "Life can make decisions for you, if you do not. We have the right to make decisions for ourselves."
Salutatorian Sarah Padellaro discussed opportunity, noting the graduates "motivated one another to reach for the stars and never look back."
Valedictorian Cooper Orio urged fellow graduates to take a look back at what they've accomplished and be proud.
Amidst several fog horns, loud cheers, and countless clapping, Orio, Padellaro, and Quirk the top three students in the class of 2019, were given the Academic Leaders of 2019 award.
Superintendent Earl Metzler commended the students for "doing the right thing even when no one was watching," and told a story about a farmer's luck and his interpretation of it to the crowd.
"The class of 2019 will be remembered as the class who always did the right thing," Metzler said.
Although one of the last to speak, National Honor Society President Ellie McCormick left many speechless. McCormick's speech quickly turned more than unique as the audio of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" was played.
"2015, that's the year we started high school," McCormick sang, "Freshmen, wonderin' what to do. 2019 it's the year we've waited for."
Roaring applause filled the air as McCormick mentioned field trips, making friends, and spirit week in the rendition.
"Grew up together now we're goin' everywhere!" McCormick sang, as she filtered the whole song to pertain to the class of 2019. "We said our memories will live on, and on, and on, and on."
Timberlane Regional High School
Number of graduates: 276
Salutatorian: Sarah Padellaro
Valedictorian: Cooper Orio