Friday, 29 June 2012 00:00
Jericho High School class of 2012 celebrated graduation on Sunday, June 24 at the Tilles Center on the C.W. Post campus. The 293 graduates celebrated the end of their Jericho school career and the enormous accolades that they accomplished during their tenure.
School board president Joe Lorintz explained that everything the graduates needed to know they learned in kindergarten, touching on a few key points that were included in the popular book. His advice to the graduates was to remember the simple lessons that were taught to them at a young age and instilled throughout their school careers.
Superintendent Hank Grishman spoke to the students about perseverance.
“The class of 2012 learned the value of hard work, as can be seen in some of their incredible statistics: Our seniors completed 1,473 AP courses, There were 137 AP Scholars, they earned almost 500 scholarships, 94 percent earned Regents Diplomas with Distinction (one of the highest percentages in public high schools in New York State) and there were more scholar athlete teams than any high school in the state,” said Grishman. “Your strength of character, incredible sense of responsibility, dedication, motivation, strong spirit, and most of all, perseverance, has already led to accomplishments that are beyond what many spend a lifetime trying to achieve. Whether you stay close to home, or wind up going across the country, I hope that all of you take way with you the same dedication and perseverance that helped you to achieve as brilliantly as you did in your years in Jericho.”
With a superhero theme to graduation and the speeches, salutatorian Ashley Paston spoke next about the similarities between the struggles her favorite superhero, Spiderman, faced and the class of 2012.
“Today we’re experienced, intelligent, and equipped with the power to change the world, but we have to take advantage of the opportunities that the small moments offer us to become extraordinary,” she said.
Salutatorian Irene Hsiung chose to speak about her favorite superhero Professor X, founder and leader of the X-men. Her advice to her fellow graduates was simple.
“Abandon your preconceived notions of normal and forget for just one second what other people think. For the past 13 years we have grown up around people very much like ourselves. It’s hard to walk through the teal hallways without seeing the same UGG boots or North Face jacket dozens of times,” she said. “Only in Jericho would the Styrofoam cups from the deli become the latest fashion accessory and the words “omg”, “like”, and “legit” make up the bulk of our vocabulary. That’s not to say that our time at Jericho has been stifling and oppressive. Instead, it has laid the foundation for our growth into mature, intelligent, and capable individuals. Now at this critical juncture in our lives is the time to become just that—individuals.”
Valedictorian Nicole Wildstein offered to her fellow graduates advice about taking time to value what is most important.
“As we grow older, we should never forget to devote ourselves to what we love. We should always find time to live in the present and try our hardest to de-emphasize our concern with future success. If we make the mistake of only concerning ourselves with the rush to the top, we will surely fail to recognize and appreciate what is presently around us,” she said. Valedictorian Jill Dolowich continued the theme her fellow classmates started and offered her classmates some important words. “Please remember that nothing in life is perfect. Most modern literature deals with man trying to find happiness, resolve, fulfillment, or all of the above. Things like GPAs, test scores, rankings and statistics are just numbers. What matters is family, friendship, lifelong dreams and values,” she said.
High school principal Joseph Prisinzano taught the graduates one last lesson – how to be a superhero. He offered three important points: Find your power, be unique and do good.
“Turns out that every man, woman, and child in this room needs superheroes,” said Prisinzano. “Our world has great challenges and the thought that a superhuman can swoop down and save the day gives us hope. Truth is, no such superhuman exists, but as you heard throughout today’s speeches, each of us can be a superhero for our world.”