SOMERVILLE, N.J.–Two hundred eighty-nine students dressed in drenched black and white gowns, caps, and tassels stampeded inside the cramped hallways of their high school Friday evening.
The Somerville High School Class of 2012 was ready to graduate on their dry and green football field under the bright sun, before the lightning struck and thunder roared, resulting in worried glances from the graduation committee members, laughs from the familial spectators, and cheers from the graduates.
The weather forecast seemed promising enough for the school to take a chance with holding the ceremony outside, but New Jersey once again proved itself unpredictable.
Following Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy J. Purnell’s hurried speech, the high school’s principal Mr. Corey J. Jones made the announcement that the valedictorian and salutatorian’s speeches would be skipped and posted online.
Students on one end of the field readied themselves to shake hands and accept their diplomas at the call of their name. The other half of the student body watched the clouds stir above the bleachers.
Near the end of speed-calling half the graduates, the thunder roared and rain poured, causing the heat to dissipate, quite unlike the result of the NBA Finals.
Completely soaked, the graduates, staff, parents, and friends crowded inside the humble hallways of the Somerville High School’s Pioneers.
The commencement renewed indoors, with some of the already graduated seniors in the stands and the rest seated alphabetically/in boy-girl order on folding chairs on the gymnasium’s court.
Principal Jones welcomed everyone to the “second half” of the ceremony, and the remaining names were called.
“I’m glad we practiced both inside and outside. I ended up sunburned, wet, sick, and graduated from the Ville,” said a very satisfied student.
Congratulations to the Somerville Class of 2012. Yours was quite the graduation to remember.