Montclair High School celebrated its 145th Commencement Ceremony in the amphitheater on Thurs., June 21 with cheers, tears and record-breaking temperatures as the Class of 2012 graduates received their diplomas.
Class of 1995 graduate Andrew Finkelstein (left, with Dr. Alvarez), a motion picture agent at William Morris Endeavor (WME) delivered the commencement address. Prior to the ceremony Finkelstein said, “It’s so exciting. I haven’t been here in a very long time but it’s nice to see familiar faces. It’s an honor to be here in this capacity.”
He said he hoped in giving his address he would connect and inspire graduates with is message to “be passionate.”
When he took the microphone, Finkelstein admitted to having not remembered anything the commencement speaker said at his graduation but wished he did and urged graduates to listen closely. His biggest piece of advice: “Do what you love to do. When you find something you love, it’s not work, it’s an adventure.”
He told students of pursuing his dreams of working in Hollywood and of starting literally at the bottom, in the WME mailroom, an experience that shaped his future. “You have to start at the bottom,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re like a tree with no roots. You need to build a foundation.”
Gabrielle Peterson, president of the Class of 2012 and MHS Award recipient followed with a spirited speech, recalling the first day of school in September 2008, when she and her fellow students entered the halls of Montclair High and highlighting her classmates’ accomplishments through the years, often in the face of adversity. “Tonight is a cause for celebration,” she said. “Tonight we celebrate the Class of 2012’s self-determination. Commencement means to begin, but you have already begun looking towards your future way before today.”
Following the handing out of diplomas by Montclair Board of Education President Robin Kulwin, the alma mater was performed by the MHS Band and Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Roberson ’12 and soloist Sasha Dalger ’12.