Kingswood Regional High School's class of '91 got what it wanted: Two beloved janitors delivered the commencement address Saturday with a little dancing and tears.
The senior class in this summer resort town passed over traditional speakers in favor of Bob Rivera and Peter Yates. The beloved custodians didn't let them down.Yates, 33, took the stage to implore about 100 graduates to be honest, dependable and trustworthy, then 36-year-old Rivera stepped up to dedicate "one last dance" to the graduating class.
With that, the Beatles classic "Twist and Shout" blared over the microphone and the pair began dancing with the graduates. Parents and administrators appeared taken aback at first, but many joined in, laughing and singing.
When the song ended, Rivera returned to the podium, turned to Principal Brian Berkowitz, and said, "Mr. Berkowitz, I'll see you in your office Monday morning."
The janitors had set up chairs and made sure the public address system was working before changing into suits for the ceremony. Afterward, they changed back into work clothes and cleaned up.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the unorthodox graduation day.
"A lot was expected of them, and they came through," senior Gregg Gomes said.
"This is what the kids wanted. This is their day, it's not the parents' day," school board Chairman Gordon Hunt said. "Hey, in 20 years, they'll all look back on this and smile, and that's great."
Yates said he was nervous before giving his speech, and he didn't hide it. He started by saying, "Whew, I'm scared."
After gaining his composure, he told graduates to work hard and remain true to themselves. He also implored them to keep their senses of humor.