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GC High School 2012 Commencement Ceremony

Graduates and their families also benefit from perfect weather and sunny skies

As if in anticipation of the occasion, the hours-before stormy skies cleared over Garden City and Warren King Field, making for a picture-perfect day on which to celebrate Garden City High School’s 67th Annual Commencement Ceremony. Hundreds of family and friends filled the stadium seats on Saturday, June 23 to applaud the Class of 2012 – the sons, daughters, siblings, grandchildren, and friends about to depart for broader horizons.

There was no lack of inspirational words during the ceremony from Principal Nanine Cuttitta, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen, Salutatorian Megan Bader, Julia Maloney Scholarship Winner Franklin Dickinson, and Valedictorian Alina Ranjbaran as the Class of 2012 attended their final event at the high school.

Perhaps the most inspiring message of the morning came from keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Stratis, high school social studies teacher: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.” From the sage words of Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Stratis built a message of hope and challenge for the soon-to-be graduated, urging each to strive for a life of uncompromising character and personal integrity.

Harvard-bound Valedictorian Alina Ranjbaran reached out to her classmates during her speech, emphasizing the quality of a Garden City education and the importance of giving back. “It is clear that we have accomplished a great deal as a class. As we graduate, we may reflect back on our time here and wonder, how and why did we get here? Much of our success stems from our hard work and dedication, but some of it comes from a bit of luck. How lucky are we to attend one of the top high schools in the country. With that, we should not take the tremendous opportunities afforded to us for granted. We should strive to give back to our own community and to those less fortunate than us. No matter what field of study we enter, there is the opportunity for service. From science and technology to the liberal arts and music, we can use our varied talents to help tackle some of the most pressing issues in our world,” she said.

Indeed, a Garden City education has opened many opportunities for recent graduates, including this impressive list of college admissions for valedictorians and salutatorians since 2002:

Year     Valedictorian             College               Salutatorian            College
2012     Alina Ranjbaran         Harvard                Megan Bader            Duke
2011     Jan Gong                    Harvard                 Michael Mongelli    Cornell
2010     Michael Abatemarco  Harvard                Allison Shen            Duke
2009     Sarah D’Antonio        Princeton              Allison Heuser         MIT
2008     Colin Quinn               Princeton              Olivia Lucas             Johns Hopkins
2007     Richard Gustafson     Cornell                  Elaina Tanella          Penn State
2006     Thomas D’Antonio    Dartmouth             Michael Pewarski    Harvard
2005     James Nugent            Notre Dame           Debbie Chiang         Harvard
2004     Elizabeth Pape           Barnard                  Peter Schrafel         Cornell
2003     Russell Krupen          Harvard                 Mariel Smith            Wellesley
2002     Alison Schroder         Amherst                Daniel Pergola         Duke

The board of education and district and high school administration would like to thank all those who contributed to making this year’s ceremony such a success.

Congratulations to Garden City High School’s Class of 2012!