“Tomorrow we will wake up with nearly limitless possibilities at our fingertips. For the first time in our lives, we have the chance to choose where we go and what we do. We can form ourselves into the people we choose to be.” These were the words of graduating senior and Clearview High School Valedictorian Abigail Stanton shortly before the Class of 2014 tossed their caps high into the air this past June.
Abigail Stanton of Sewell had sat through a total of five graduations prior to her own — her two older brothers’ and several ceremonies where she played in the graduation band. This time, however, it was different. This time, it was her day.
“Having it be my own graduation definitely felt different,” Abby says. “I remember graduation day going really fast for me…It was like I blinked and it was over.” Not only was Abby a graduating senior, she was also in the position to inspire her peers as the valedictorian — a huge honor which she embraced with sincerity while remaining quite humble.
In her speech, Abby talked about how the hard work and struggles in high school helped teach dedication, team work and the ability to deal with failure. She admitted high school was tough in many ways, yet it prepared them all for the future.”To succeed,” she reminded her peers “we will need to remember those universal lessons that we learned in high school. We must work incredibly hard, coexist peacefully with one another, confront challenges with tenacity, and manage to enjoy ourselves all the while.”
She credits a lot of her academic and personal success to the wonderful teachers at Clearview High School. Included in the list were Mr. Neiswender, Mr. Porter, Mr. Tomlin and Mr. Tweed. “More than simply teaching the material, they made learning an experience,” Abby says. “They really invested a lot of time and effort into teaching us and never lost their personal touch… I felt I really got to know them as genuinely interesting people.”
Abby’s future is certainly going to be bright. She will be attending Colgate University to study either Biology or Neuroscience and possibly minor in Spanish. She also plans to play in the Pep Band. But for now, Abby will take a well-deserved break from her four years of studying. She is looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with her family before heading off to college. She enjoys reading, playing video games, knitting, hanging out with friends and music. Abby actually plays a variety of instruments from the trumpet, baritone and french horn to the ukulele and mellophone.
Her favorite thing to do in the Mullica Hill area is walk around the Amish Market with friends and grab a donut or soft pretzel. But leisure activities won’t be the only thing on Abby’s summer agenda. She will return to help with the choreography at a children’s theatre program called Junior Starlights. Abby has participated in this program for 10 years along with her Mom, who directs.
When asked about the most memorable part of her graduation day, Abby said it was the feeling of pure happiness when she tossed her cap up into the air and saw the shared look of joy on the faces of her classmates. “High school is a real challenge for a lot of reasons and the fact that we all got through it is where the pride comes from…We were just happy to have made it to that point.”
Written By Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.