Written by Elizabeth Sobel Friday, 13 July 2012 00:00
Hofstra Arena was a sea of blue and white caps and gowns as 309 graduates from the Class of 2012 celebrated a long-awaited milestone in their educational careers during Division Avenue High School’s 53rd Commencement Ceremony. Led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. James J. Grossane, High School Principal Dr. Francesco Ianni and Assistant Principal Joan Lorelli, the graduates filed in to the orchestra’s serenade of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed under the conductorship of Mark Martufi.
Student Council President Ellen Chaleff began the ceremony by leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, after which the senior chamber singers, under the direction of conductor Andrea Galeno, sang the national anthem.
Dr. Ianni then addressed the students with words of wisdom, reminding them that they are an inspiration to everyone in attendance by what they have accomplished. He warned, however, that a diploma is not a free pass, stating, “You must always keep in mind to work hard.”
In his address, valedictorian Evan Rosati told his classmates that life “is not about the path you take, but the effort you put into it.” Salutatorian Eric Maciel explained that his goal is to love the career he finds himself in, but that there must be initiative in any job a person takes. “The onus is on you and me in that we must all take initiative,” he stated. Class President Sharmilla Hossain also expressed the hope that her classmates will become an inspiration for others. “The people who believe they can change the world usually do,” she remarked.
Senator Charles Schumer, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes also reflected on their past experiences and encouraged the students to reach for their dreams, remember their goals and work hard to overcome life’s “speed bumps.”
In a cherished graduation tradition, the audience took time out from the celebratory speeches to watch a commemorative video presentation, which featured photographs and short clips of the seniors’ last year together. Hossain also made the announcement that the senior class had dedicated the class gift of a bench.
One by one, the members of the Class of 2012 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas and become alumni of the Levittown school district. The graduates threw their caps into the air amid cheers from family and friends in the audience.
In the program’s closing remarks, Board of Education President Michael Pappas compared the graduates to dragons in that they are legendary. “Division has prepared you for life’s challenges. Enjoy the trip,” he stated.