CJCP Class Of 2020 Told To Follow Their Dreams

The Central Jersey College Prep Charter School’s Class of 2020 was told to use what they’ve learned, especially this past year, to achieve their life’s goals at the school’s commencement on July 6.

This being the Age of Coronavirus, the graduates’ traditional caps and gowns were supplemented with face masks, and they and their families were seated with social distancing in mind in the school’s parking lot.

“High school was nothing if not memorable,” Class Valedictorian Sneha Santosh told her fellow graduates. “We did not have a typical senior year, but nothing about our class has ever been typical.”

“The Class of 2020 has learned to expect the unexpected, to say the least,” she said.

Santosh told the graduates that they all have bright futures, and that they should not be afraid of failure.

“Failure tempers us, gives us experience and give us a feeling of actually knowing what we’re talking about,” she said. “We just need to develop the courage to get back up after any setback or obstacle. That’s how I measure the true strength of a person; having not only the tenacity to rise, but the insight to fail again and fail better.”

Santosh said every member of the class has “the opportunity to be successful.”

“We are all more than our test scores, GPAs, club positions or any other box that people would try to put us in,” she said. “When we define ourselves through the perceptions of others, we suffer.”

“The best advice I can give you is we need to live our lives for ourselves,” Santosh said. “We have our entire lives ahead of us and the most important opinions that need to be heard and heeded are our own.”

“We all have a chance to achieve our wildest dreams,” she said. “Start where you are, use what you have and do what you dream of.”

Class Salutatorian Nihar Kella told his classmates that they all “can go through adversity and still reach our dreams.”

“You have to surround yourself with people you trust and people that support your dreams, so even when you’re not succeeding, they can show you how to,” he said.

Kella said that as they start new chapters in their lives, he and his classmates will face new challenges.

“The higher we aim, the more adversity we’ll face, but that’s just how life goes,” he said.

“People are going to look at us and see how we achieved our dreams,” Kella said. “We can either achieve our dreams and become legends in a new age or become forgotten nobodies that compromised on their dreams. We’re not going to be a class of nobodies, are we?”

“No matter what age COVID-19 is going to bring us to, the age of dreams will never end,” he said.

Also speaking during the evening ceremony were Class President Clara Dukes, CJCP Chief Education Officer Namik Sercan and the keynote speaker, state Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson, D-Englewood.

Here are some scenes from the event. All photos by Asli Cebe:

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