The setting was the Collins Arena on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College, as The Ranney School Class of 2017 celebrated its commencement on May 25.
The Tinton Falls-based school graduated 82 seniors, of which 31 were known as “Ranney Lifers,” or students who had attended the school for 10 or more years. Next fall, the entire group will head off to attend some of the most prestigious colleges and universities across the country, including Columbia, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, and Notre Dame, where they will pursue their individual passions and interests in fields ranging from the visual arts and theatrical production to finance, law, and medicine to robotics and information technology.
“Use your passions to further the world,” advised Valedictorian Jillian Ross of Rumson in her commencement speech to her peers. “As you engage in introspection this summer, think about how you will leave your mark on the world…. A worthy life is one that makes you happy and beneficially touches the lives of others.” Jillian served as Student Council President and will attend Columbia University.
“A common thread that unifies Ranney’s Class of 2017 is their eagerness to experience all that life has to offer,” says Andrea Velasquez, the school’s Co-Director of College Counseling. “This class is committed to service, athletics, citizenship, and creativity as much as they are committed to their academic interests. They want to do it all—and they will.”
The school’s 53rd commencement ceremony was led by Head of School Dr. John W. Griffith and Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Brian Torpey.
Among the graduates are the founder of the school’s Girls Who Code Club (Olivia Castello of Wall), two VEX World Robotics Competitors (Ben Iglesia of West Allenhurst and Will Zheng of Long Branch), All State and All Shore Chorus Soprano (Evan Schultz of Colts Neck), 3 Scholastic Art Gold Winners (Max Chalnick of Marlboro, Alexa Biswal of Millstone Twp, and Pooja Nayyar of Morganville), Harvard Model Congress Best Delegate Winner (Charles Fabricant of West Allenhurst), Basie Leading Actress Nominee (Lucy McGinty of Brielle), National Spanish Exam Honor Recipient (Jack DeNicola of Rumson), 16 Cum Laude Society Inductees, 2 Global Citizen Peace & Justice Advocates (Grace Cornell of Bay Head and Dana Schioppo of Freehold), two Division-I college recruits (Olivia Smith of Manasquan who will join Bucknell’s Rowing Team and Alexis Redish of Howell who will compete on Clark University’s Softball Team), as well as a National Sailing Team competitor (Mari Patient of Oceanport).