VERNON-The long-awaited and slightly-postponed moment arrived for Vernon Township High School seniors June 25 as they marched down the aisle of a packed gymnasium to receive their diplomas. Friends and family packed the room and spilled over into the auditorium, where the event was shown on a huge TV screen, after threats of rain moved the ceremony indoors. Seniors Ray Devlin, trumpet, and Sinead Fortune, a percussionist and violinist, led the band in separate musical selections as the crowd filed in. The faculty, including Superintendent of Schools Anthony Macerino and Board of Education President Howard Whidden, proceeded in, dressed in the traditional robes of academia. Following close behind were the stars of the show n the Vernon senior men and women dressed in robes of the school colors, blue and gold. Senior Class President Liam Quinn led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, after which vocalist Katherine Bergmann sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." Principal Dennis Mudrick talked about the "10 Lessons of Life" to the graduating class. There are issues in the world that "need your attention and resolve," said Mudrick. He added: "Take the life that has been given to you
and make it worth something someday." Valedictorian Ryan Insolera advised his classmates to live life the way they feel is right for them, but to know that there is more than one way to go. Salutatorian Christopher Sang Szot said, "We need to seize the opportunity and live life." Living, he said, is "going out fishing with your friends and almost falling out of the boat 13 times
and still calling it a perfect day." The speeches were followed by the singing of the Vernon Alma Mater by vocalists Kimberly Botsko and William Start. Macerino and Whidden then spoke before the graduates and families. "Ladies and gentlemen," said Whidden, "go out in the world with our love, support and encouragement." With that, Assistant Principals Timothy Dunigan and Kristin Perry began reading off names as the men and women of the graduating class of 2004 walked down the aisle and received the result of 12 years of hard work -- their diplomas.