Long Beach High School Honors 2017 Graduates

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Years of effort, determination, commitment, learning experiences and unforgettable memories for the members of the Class of 2017 were celebrated on the evening of June 23, when Long Beach High School’s 94th Annual Commencement Ceremony signified the beginning of new, opportunity-filled journeys. Within the rows of blue caps and gowns was a collection of success stories that represented the knowledge, talent, skill, creativity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm that this group of graduates has demonstrated.

The high school’s gymnasium was energized with family members, friends, teachers and district leaders who excitedly applauded the seniors for well-earned accomplishments and cheered them on in the ventures ahead. The graduation band performed “Pomp and Circumstance” as the Class of 2017 made its debut, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the graduation choir’s performance of the National Anthem.

Principal Jeffrey Myers welcomed all honorees and guests and reflected on his first year at Long Beach High School. He shared several inspiring quotes that were written by some of the individuals who perhaps best exemplify the importance of hard work and persistence: the graduates themselves.

“Your commencement today actually symbolizes the beginning of a new era,” he said. “You will all encounter new challenges, meet new people, learn new things, have new successes and new failures. Face these challenges head on and show your true Long Beach colors in life to accomplish your goals.”

Board of Education President Stewart Mininsky also addressed the graduates. “I hope your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,” he said. “And while you’re out there getting to where you’re going to, realize that somebody loves you and wants the same things for you.”
Salutatorians Kelly DiResto and Megan Sofield focused on the network of support that the Class of 2017 has built, comparing it to a performance they choreographed together in the International Baccalaureate Dance class in which they synchronized their movements and relied on one another for support.

“Kelly and I realized that this dance could be metaphorical for our high school experience,” said Megan. “We built networks of trust, community, and support that gave us a great foundation for the future, just as the lesson in weight-sharing gave us the foundation for our piece and proved the importance of trust and support.”

Kelly continued with an anecdote from the 2016 Pep Rally, and discussed the significance of rising up from challenges. “We have learned during our 4 years at Long Beach High School that struggles and disappointments can become a positive lesson for the future,” she said. “We use humor to deal with our stress and understand things are not as serious as they seem to be in the moment. And we know that when we do fall or fail, someone will be there to support us.”

Valedictorian Eric Ricci noted that “Every great invention, every effort to effect change has begun with a single step. When we recognize how important each of those small steps may be in bringing about change, we acknowledge the power we have to improve this world.” He illustrated this point with the personal example of overcoming an allergy through a scientific approach.  

Superintendent of Schools David Weiss thanked all who were present. He noted that Island Park Public Schools’ Board of Education members and Superintendent Dr. Rosemarie Bovino were in attendance to support the graduating seniors who had gone through Island Park’s elementary and middle schools. He then summarized the many achievements earned by the seniors.

“You have embraced the diversity of our school and community in all its dimensions,” he said. “You have encouraged students who were not as able as you to succeed, because you truly care, and so many of you have learned the importance of community after Superstorm Sandy. You inspire us, and I wish you all the best, as I know that you will continue to shine in the years ahead.”  

Sean Reilly provided remarks on behalf of the seniors. Mr. Myers then presented the Class of 2017 to the audience and joined members of the Board of Education and Administration in the distribution of diplomas. Student Government President Govinda Thomas led his classmates as they turned their tassels from right to left to represent their transition from students to graduates.

Upon the official announcement of this significant and long-awaited milestone, the graduates tossed their caps “onward and upward” as they set forth into new chapters.