Members of the East Meadow and W.T. Clarke high schools’ Classes of 2014 proudly walked across their athletic fields to celebrate an educational milestone during their commencement ceremonies on June 29. Friends, family, community members, faculty and central administrators applauded students as they took their seats during Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”
East Meadow High School’s commencement exercises began with a salute to the flag and the senior chorale’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Board of Education President Joseph Parisi congratulated the students on their fine achievement. “I wish for you to be healthy, to be kind and to be yourself,” he said.
In addressing his peers, salutatorian Hassan Alam said that graduates will “carry with us not only the lessons learned in textbooks, but also the life lessons taught by such key figures in our lives.” Valedictorian Nathan Siegelaub, inspired by Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” recited a poem he had written, describing his high school experience as “four years of perfection.” He encouraged students to take risks, work hard and remain humble. Principal Richard Howard lauded the graduating class, citing their community service, scholarship and athletic abilities.
At W.T. Clarke High School, the commencement ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem and “America the Beautiful,” as well as the school alma mater by the senior chorus.
Salutatorian Gabrielle Cord-Cruz told her fellow graduates to “always remember to aim high and never settle for less,” while valedictorian Siddesh Ramesh encouraged students to cherish the memories and feelings they had experienced at the school.
Principal Timothy Voels reflected on the class’s accomplishments and contributions, as well as their character. “Trust in yourself and move forward with confidence,” he said. He concluded his speech by saying, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
The special guest speaker, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, offered congratulatory remarks and encouraged students to continue to work hard and strive to fulfill their dreams.
Superintendent of Schools Louis R. DeAngelo addressed the graduates at both high schools, encouraging them to live happy and fulfilling lives. “Love what you love, and be yourself,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes — it is with making mistakes that we’re trying new things, learning, living, pushing ourselves and changing the world. Mistakes aren’t failures; they are how we learn.”
After the diplomas were distributed and the graduates tossed their caps in the air, the students reunited with their friends and family. The district congratulates the Class of 2014 and wishes them great success and happiness in their future endeavors.