Long Beach High School Honors 2016 Graduates

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Long Beach High School’s 93rd Annual Commencement Ceremony, held on June 24, was a celebration of longstanding traditions, extraordinary achievements and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Members of the Class of 2016 were congratulated by their friends, families, teachers and district leaders as they received their diplomas and set forth to embark on new journeys.

The graduates walked onto Long Beach Middle School’s Veterans Field to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the graduation band. Senior class officers led the Pledge of Allegiance and the graduation band and choir performed the National Anthem. Acting Principal Dr. Francine Newman welcomed all honorees and guests, offering inspiring words of advice.

“Cherish every second of every day,” Dr. Newman stated. “Please experience every moment, big or small. Try not to be distracted or thinking about the next thing you need to do.” She shared the famous quote: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot,” and encouraged the graduates to pilot their lives with positivity, joy and fulfillment.

As an extraordinary highlight to this year’s graduation ceremony, a special diploma was presented to Rudolph Lantelme, a student at Long Beach High School more than seven decades ago. Lantelme was a member of the Class of 1945 and enlisted in the United States Navy during his senior year to serve in World War II. Though at the time it was customary to provide what were known as “War Diplomas” to veterans, he never received one. Lantelme explained that, despite his success as a college graduate, extensive career in education as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator, followed by a retirement role as a radiological technologist, something always seemed to be missing. Dr. Newman took the honor of presenting him with a diploma on behalf of the district. The veteran and accomplished educator expressed that, thanks to this meaningful gesture, he now felt satisfied.

Board of Education President Roy J. Lester addressed the graduates – including his son, Christopher, who was among them. “Figure out who you are, why you’re doing what you’re doing,” he advised. “Question your motivation.” Mr. Lester underscored the significance of “The Three Be’s: Be honest, be nice and be persistent.” “All of you will make a difference in the world because of who you are,” he said.

Salutatorian Paige Rogoff reflected on her years as a student and athlete, emphasizing teamwork and the possibilities it brings. “All of us have been in a situation where we had to work together to achieve a certain goal,” she said. Drawing on the district’s and community’s resilience in recovering from Superstorm Sandy as an example, she expressed that “Long Beach is one big team.”

Superintendent of Schools David Weiss provided remarks and thanked all who were present. He noted that the 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. Mr. Weiss summarized the many achievements earned by the seniors and told them, “You have accomplished so much already.”

Alexandra Kapilian, the Class of 2016 valedictorian, focused her speech on how people spend their time. “I urge all of you to do something meaningful with the time you’ve been given,” she said. “You can always balance work with the activities you love. Do not ever use time as an excuse to not do the things you are passionate about.”

Following a musical interlude courtesy of the choir, Raul Sebastian Vidal shared reflections and thoughts on behalf of the seniors. Dr. Newman then presented the Class of 2016 to the audience and joined members of the Board of Education and Administration in the distribution of diplomas. Student Demi Amideneau shared a quote as she and her classmates prepared to move their tassels from right to left as a symbol of their transition from students to graduates.

As the evening concluded, prior to exiting the field, members of the Class of 2016 tossed their caps into the sky and rejoiced over the beginning of new chapters.