Cedar Grove High School says goodbye to the Class of 2014

Droves of supporters filled the bleachers at Cedar Grove High School Friday waiting to catch a glimpse of their loved ones – graduating seniors who were ending one journey of their lives and beginning another.
Over 120 students said goodbye to their high school careers June 20 as Cedar Grove held its annual commencement ceremony on a breezy evening filled with Panther pride.
For many members of the Class of 2014, the journey has been both a long and memorable, according to Rebecca Altschul, president of Cedar Grove school council. “I truly never believed this day would come. It just seemed so far into the future,” she said.
Referring to the class’s academic history, Altschul continued, “back in middle school, we were deemed as the worst class to ever pass through Memorial Middle School in 25 years. Now here we are, senior year; smarter, more experienced, wiser and excited to take on everything that’s coming our way. It was a tough journey but looking back on it, it was a journey that could never be forgotten.”
Altschul’s speech, along with the class tribute song – “On My Way” by Phil Collins – gave way to a collection of tears from both high school seniors and parents alike.
For members of the Cedar Grove community though, the long journey felt much shorter than expected.
“I can’t believe four years has passed already,” said Richard Mastrangelo, parent of Cedar Grove Elks Club scholarship recipient Rachel Mastrangelo.
Along with the 97 percent of seniors who are going on to two or four-year colleges, Mastrangelo plans to study occupational therapy at Morris County College before continuing her education at either Montclair State or Rutgers University.
One student will enlist in the U.S. Marines, remarked high school Principal Richard Mangili.
“Today is the day. Today is your day,” Mangili said, addressing the class. “…13 years of school. 18 years of life, and only one day to graduate.”
Along with students, parents and friends, Cedar Grove Board of Education President Joseph Cicala and township Councilman Peter Tanella were also in attendance.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Fetherman chose to address the graduating class with a simple question: “You’re about to receive your high school diplomas. How cool is that?”
Graduation addresses were also made by seniors Mackenzie Connolly and Flannery Mackin, both of whom dedicated their moments onstage to a look back into the past while keeping a bright eye toward future endeavors. Connolly, who described “treacherous research papers and lengthy calculus equations,” assured her class that they were “more than just a final grade.” While Mackin shared her understanding that the step forward “is not only a certificate of the end, but a ticket of the beginning. The commencement of our future.”
Friday’s commencement had its share of tears, laughs and exceptionally Panther-proud moments. But aside from the senior’s accomplishments and accolades were messages meant to guide the class through moments of hardship and “real world” events that may seem bigger than high school ever did.
Looking over 125 of her fellow classmates with pride, Altschul said, in a high-pitched voice, “Congratulations! To end the class of 2014, in the words of Elle Woods (a character in Legally Blonde), ‘We did it!’”


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