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(Photo by George Vogel)

CLASS OF 2005: Senior Class President Sasha Jean addresses her fellow classmates at Princeton High School's 76th graduation ceremony, held on Thursday, June 16. Under clouds threatening rain, students reflected on their senior year, and the road that lies ahead. Pictured to the right of Ms. Jean is PHS Principal Gary Snyder.

PHS Class of '05 Moves On

–Candace Braun

From construction, to lawsuits, to a series of events involving Trenton-based gangs, students at Princeton High School had an interesting senior year in 2005. One thing students can agree on is that it was memorable.

"We've been through a lot this year," said Class President Sasha Jean during her address to students at their high school graduation on Thursday, June 16.

The ceremony was held on the school's front lawn under uncertain grey skies, which some would say mirrored the students' senior year.

For the class that began as freshmen just before the tragedy of 9/11, senior year began and ended eventfully. The arrival of a new principal their junior year was followed by the groundbreaking for the $32.8 million construction and renovation project that would continue for the rest of their junior and senior years.

Their senior year began with a lawsuit that was filed against the district by parents of female athletes, and continued with a series of gang-related incidents involving PHS students that included the shooting of one of their classmates.

"This class knows how to accept one another and get through the tough times," said senior Garima Bhatt in her address to students. "Calamity was met with overwhelming support.Š We've learned what it means to be there for one another."

Although there were battles to overcome, students also left PHS with some positive memories, including the high school hosting the Minority Student Achievement Network conference for the first time here in Princeton, as well as the expansion and opening of the Numina Gallery's new facility, the first professional, student-run gallery in the nation.

Among other student memories was the PHS football team's victory over Allentown in its season opener, 41-12.

"Our spirit was the power behind these feats," said Ms. Bhatt, mentioning the school's third place in the International Physics Olympiad Competition.

"The rendition of The Crucible this year was Oscar-worthy," said Ms. Jean, adding that another accomplishment the school can boast of is having three of its faculty members named coaches of the year.

PHS Principal Gary Snyder had encouraging words for the 76th graduating class, a class whom he said "has demonstrated excellence."

"This class has experienced its share of sad and troubling events," he said, adding that what he will remember most is how they came together to support one another through it all.

"We send you forth with great pride," said Superintendent Judy Wilson, reminding students that while they are our future leaders, they are also still their parents' children, "their babies, and their hope."

One senior, Tait Foster, described the journey before him as "absolutely terrifying." However, he continued, "What matters most is the sheer possibility of what lies ahead of us."

Ms. Bhatt reminded her classmates that because of what they have gone through together, they are now even better prepared for the future.

"It is this down-to-earth, chummy class that will keep all of us going as we follow our dreams."

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