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CJCP Graduates Celebrated For Their Perseverance

Students gather around Class Salutatorian Dhiren Patel as he takes a class selfie during the Central Jersey College Prep Charter School’s high school graduation June 24.

Perseverance was the overriding theme at the June 24 Central Jersey College Prep Charter School high school graduation.

The school’s 43 graduating seniors were celebrated for their perseverance during the Covid-19 pandemic, and urged to persevere in the future when met with new challenges.

Class Valedictorian Harshika Gelivi told her fellow graduates that they should “try everything.”

“A misstep on the path to victory does not mean that we’ve been knocked out for good, but rather it opens up a new road to achieve our goals,” she said.

Defeats, she said, “simply serve as steppingstones to reach our destination, a place that becomes more memorable and valuable.”

“Forever etched into our minds are the memories that have planted the seeds for new beginnings,” she said.

The day’s keynote speaker, Tai Cooper, based her comments on the notion of how persistence got the graduates to where they were now, and how it will help them in the future.

Cooper, the Chief Community Development Officer at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, told the graduates that “each and every one of you is a shining example of persistence.”

“Many of you were first generation high school graduates, and many will have your family represented in a college for the very first time,” she said. “That’s a pretty big deal.”

“What also got you here is the persistence that lives inside of each and every one of you,” Cooper said. “It’s that persistence that you’re going to have to dig deep into when things become difficult.”

“You may run into roadblocks again, and they may seem insurmountable,” she said. “Let your ability to persevere become your superpower, because each of you have it.”

“Remember this year at CJCP when you survived a pandemic,” she said. “Remember how each of you found a road map to success through a pandemic.  Remember how each of you found a way to succeed when the world was in chaos, and it was your generation that put us back on track.”

“Your persistence will now allow you to do anything that you set your mind to,” Cooper said. “And for that, I have such hope and such pride in the future that we have ahead of us.”

Class Salutatorian Dhiren Patel gave a spirited speech, during which he took a class selfie and ditched his graduation gown for a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses and a hat.

Patel’s message was that his classmates should enjoy and remember every day, and not simply live for the milestones.

“We’ve all promised ourselves conditional happiness,” he said. “I’ve told myself, I’ll be happy tomorrow after I take that test, and then that test came around, and after that, I’ll be happy after I take my SAT, and after that, I’ll be happy after I get into college, and after that, I’ll be happy after I graduate.”

“Today we’re happy, today each and every one of our friends has a smile on their face and a brightness in their eyes,” he said. “So If I can ask you guys one thing, it would be this: Tomorrow when you wake up, please don’t wiper that smile off your face and save it for the next milestone of your life. Don’t forgo your happiness chasing something so far away, because eventually you’ll be there, just like we are today. And looking back, the only thing you’ll remember is the times you were happy.”

“The last thing we want is to be on top of the world with nothing worth remembering,” he said.

Here are some scenes from the ceremony:

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