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Manhasset High School Class Of 2012 Graduates

Students encouraged to dream big, see the best in everyone and show gratitude

A storm watch was in effect June 22, and the downpour limited access to the Manhasset High School Class of 2012 Graduation Ceremony for some when it was held in the gymnasium but did nothing to damper the spirits of those seated, waiting excitedly for the students to enter. Inside, the early arrivals greeted and congratulated each other and couldn’t stop smiling while outside the torrential rains brought the temperature down to high 70s from high 90s—the only silver lining to the miserable weather.

On schedule, the Manhasset High School Symphony Orchestra performed “Pomp and Circumstance” under the direction of Mrs. Caroline Shyr as students marched into the gym amid a controlled frenzy of family and friends recording the event with cameras, cell phones, videos, and precious memory.

The Manhasset tradition of the salute to the flag and sounding of the bell was initiated by class president Caroline Keogh. Following the orchestras’ rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” Keogh spoke of the accomplishments of the Class of 2012, including being the first to wear matching shirts for homecoming. The day was about celebrating, she said, and about thanking all those who had helped them along the way. “This class is made of genuinely good people,” Keogh said, “and for that we’ll always be remembered.”

Class Salutatorian Kiki Barnes was first to advance to the podium, followed by the four class Valedictorians: Alexandra Golway, Olivia Henry, George Mo and Margaret Pavlovich as each delivered an address to their fellow graduates and attentive audience. (Their speeches are printed on pages 4, 5 and 6.)

Silver M Society President Richard Bennett announced the 2012 inductees who had remained a mystery until the actual ceremony: Julia Smaldone, Kiki Barnes, Anam Chaudhry and Julia Comerford. “Four young women,” Bennett said, adding, “Sorry guys, it’s a clean sweep.” Students selected for membership in the prestigious alumni honor society have attained leadership roles in at least three activity areas over their four high school years. Also inducted into the Silver M Society was teacher Michael Faraci who taught all levels of math. When Bennett explained the students had dedicated their yearbook to him, the announcement was met with overwhelming applause and a standing ovation from students.

Class treasurer Julia Comerford and Christopher Keen, senior class advisor, presented the Class of 2012 gift to the school of a professional art gallery to be established in the hallway outside the auditorium. It is a tradition to present it to a board of education member and Trustee Cindy Cardinal accepted the gift saying the art gallery was a true reflection of the character of the class, allowing them to celebrate each others amazing accomplishments. She encouraged them as they leave high school to make the choices that will realize their potential and fulfill their dreams. Cardinal told the students that she was honored to accept the class gift as her final act as a board member because she retires this year.

Christopher Keen, senior class advisor, acknowledged he had enjoyed coaching, teaching and float building with the class for the past four years. He told his graduating class that you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Put another way, he said, “If you don’t reach, you can’t grab.” Keen challenged them to take the shot; to ask that beautiful gal or guy out. “You’re focused on tomorrow,” he said, “focus on today.” Keen also told his students that they will discover that the kids they grow up with are more important to them than anyone ever will be.

Superintendent Charlie Cardillo said that in Manhasset the school and the community are one big family, and counseled them as they leave the school to remember why they came, and that they will always be welcome.

When High School Principal Dean Schlanger addressed the students he said you can’t change the cards you are dealt, just how you play the hand. He added they should always give their best and not do anything with half effort. “Dream new dreams,” he said, because they were all about to start over and “tomorrow’s possibilities are not yesterday’s disappointments.” “Dream big,” he encouraged them, “see the best in everyone and show gratitude.”

After members of the school board, Carlo Prinzo, Regina Rule, Craig Anderson and Cindy Cardinal, distributed diplomas to the proud graduates, witnessed by their equally proud parents, the ceremony concluded with the ceremonial turning of the tassel orchestrated by class officers, Rebecca Delman, vice president, Michael Yu, secretary and Courtney Reilly, class historian.

The turning of the tassel is symbolic, an emotional moment for the Manhasset High School Class of 2012. Their high school years over, they tossed their mortarboards into the air, and left the gym to face the next phase of their lives.