Friday, 06 July 2012 00:00
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!