Every morning at 9:19 a.m., senior class president, Ray Holloway, would come on the loudspeaker, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and deliver the day's news.
"Good morning Millburn High School" was his tagline.
Principal Dr. William Miron pointed out at the 117th MHS Commencement Ceremony, Holloway truly was the "voice of Millburn High School" this year.
So when it seemed like Holloway wouldn't be permitted to address his classmates at the graduation ceremony, it didn't surprise anyone when the entire senior class rallied around their president, eventually winning him back the opportunity to speak.
On Tuesday, June 12, the seniors' last day of high school classes and two days before Senior Prom, many student, including Holloway, gathered for what has become known as the annual "senior prank."
Last year, seniors blocked principal Miron's parking space with red cups , while this year, the seniors sprayed silly string in and around the MHS cafeteria during one of the lunch periods, which included spraying Miron and vice-principal Dr. Robert Keenan.
While the intent of the prank was "all in good fun", the administration was not happy and reprimanded approximately 30 students involved by asking them not to attend the senior cruise, a graduation tradition.
Miron told Patch, in a separate interview, "I know there was no malicious intent but it just got out of hand." He further explained the administration warned the students they would get in trouble. "
Holloway, who took responsibility as being part of the prank's execution, was also reportedly denied the presidential tradition of addressing his class at graduation. But the senior class and many seniors' families rallied around Holloway, eventually winning him back the opportunity to speak.
"I think the senior commencement speech is an integral part of graduation," Miron told Patch. "How much are you really going to single one student out? He is already missing the cruise like everyone else."
Holloway said "it wouldn't have been worth the potential disruptions to keep me silent, especially because my speech was not malicious."
Rather, his speech highlighted the individual achievements of members of his class, which signify the incredible diversity and potential of the unique and unquestionably special Class of 2012.
He even began his speech with a clever reference to Mark Antony's burial speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a speech that as eighth graders, all Millburn students were required to memorize and recite (in costume)!
"I see great things for my class' future," Holloway told Patch. "We are intelligent kids, who have been given a multitude of resources and opportunities. Nothing and nobody but ourselves are able to hinder us on our paths to what we want to do".
Holloway began and closed his speech by thanking "the powers that be" for granting him the opportunity to speak at graduation. Miron prefaced the speech by calling it "perhaps the most highly anticipated graduation speech at Millburn High School," and Holloway stepped to the podium after receiving a standing ovation from his classmates and teachers.
Before Superintendent James Crisfield gave his prepared remarks following Holloway's speech, he addressed the leader of the graduating class. "Ray, I just wanted to say that I can totally see why you were elected by your classmates to represent you", and praised both his speech and his leadership.
Holloway was a co-captain of the Millburn Fencing Team, and will be attending the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, where he'll be studying business and marketing. (He's also an accomplished rapper). He is incredibly proud of all of his class' achievements, is confident that their experiences at Millburn dictate future success, and says his class is "incredibly excited for summer, college, and whatever is in store for our futures".
Holloway's address to the Millburn High School Class of 2012 follows:
Greetings to parents, faculty, administration and Superintendent Dr. Crisfield. I hope we are all doing well this evening. I come here not to bury the class of 2012 but to praise it. Given the past few weeks, it is truly an honor to do so before those who elected me and those who advocated for me to be standing here right now.
But today is not about me, or any one individual. It is about us, the Class of 2012.
Now, Millburn High School is known for sending its students to the nation's best schools and this year is no different. I could go down the list of top-tier schools we will be attending in the fall but it is not necessary. Making our way to the schools we have chosen is a testament to our character, for intelligence alone does not equate to admission.
During the last four years we have developed into a considerate, concerned and creative class that plays hard but evidently works even harder. The work I speak of is not limited to the classroom as cumulatively we have logged months and months, perhaps even years, of community service hours. The kind hearts of this class have touched the lives of people in places as far as Peru, Haiti and Japan. This truly is amazing - that we can make differences in the lives of people on the other side of the planet and that is just as teenagers!
Still though, we cannot forget our class' efforts on the home front through clubs such as , and March of Dimes, which through Amanda Cammalleri's leadership raised $2,000 dollars solely from selling lollipops all year long. Now that's dedication!
Dedication that is in no way unique among the students of this class. For instance:
We have the 20th fastest senior mile runner in the country in .
We also have of the tennis team. He is the first Singles athlete in school history to play in and win four Group titles.
Furthermore, we have an author who already has three novels in David Wasserman.
We also have Dan Hassin, the inventor of an iPhone app that has already been bought by Apple.
Additionally, we have Sean Khazeal, the mastermind behind the lens in many of our media projects, most notably, "Blood Money."
Moreover, we have , a finalist for the 43rd International Physics Olympiad.
Then there is Julia Silverstein, the singing sensation that I am sure could land a role on Broadway, if so desired.
Lastly, I want to recognize all the out there. Anyone who has looked through the yearbook, or been to a display at school, has seen the amazing works created by the students in our grade.
I say all this to say that it is not superior intellect alone that makes the class of 2012 special.
We are an accepting group of kids who are not afraid to take action, make mistakes or fight for what we love and think is right. Above all else, that is what is most promising about this class.
Thank you Millburn High School and parents for giving us the opportunity to learn and grow here among other remarkable people.
And once again, thank you to the powers that be for allowing me this opportunity.
Best wishes to all as I leave you with this quote - "Dream. For the future belongs to those who believe in their dreams. Life's battles don't always go to the stronger woman or man, but eventually to those who think they can."