As the two-hour graduation ceremony ended, Principal Jay Lewis told graduates to move their tassels to the other side and hats went flying into the air as in years past. But some of the graduation speakers noted a few differences with the class of 2007 as compared to other years. Superintendent Geoffrey Gordon offered some facts to show their excellence: 27 National Merit Scholarship Finalists, the most ever, and the football team went to the playoffs for the first time in years. Principal Lewis boasted out of 353 students, 247 earned advanced Regents diplomas and every senior graduated except one. Gordon described the Schreiber class of 2007 as the best in all of the USA.
Nancy Cowles, board of education member, praised all the students saying, "You've taken advantage of myriad opportunities offered in academics, the arts, athletics and community service. You have accomplished so much. You are remarkable human beings and we are so proud of each of you." She then went on to announce the Bogart Scholarship winners, Ben Jaffe and Zachary Singer. She described them by saying, "Each serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished by a single, unique individual. Each has shown concern for the welfare of others and has contributed to making, not only our community, but the world, a better place for all." Cowles and two other board members, Jean-Marie Posner and Dr. Roy Nelson, chose the Bogart scholarship winners.
Gordon and Lewis, while praising the class of 2007, both exhorted the graduates to make a difference. Gordon said, "Don't believe you can't make a difference. You can end racism and poverty. . . . Whatever you choose, choose it to make a difference." Lewis quoted Albert Einstein and then said, "As you leave the wonderful cocoon of Schreiber High School and the tremendous warmth of the Port Washington community, we know that you will be leaders, role models, and responsible citizens long after this bright and joyous June day. We know this because you have already done it for the past four years at this wonderful school."
School Board President Rob Seiden offered similar advice and then added, "You need to also understand that you will change. Change is in fact very, very good. The world changes every day; you will change very often, too. You should want to change. Look at how our world has changed in the last 20 years with technology. Embrace change. Charles Darwin said, 'It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.'" He added a quote by Bruce Barton, "'When you're through changing, you're through.'"
Seiden started his remarks by suggesting that graduates respect and show appreciation to their parents. He ended similarly by saying, "In sum, enjoy this day with your family and friends, it will never be again."
Emlyn Diakow, the student speaker, discussed how hard it is to describe the Schreiber class of 2007. She also repeated a message in a poster she bought years ago which graduate Danny Goldin's mother Amy said was inspiring. The message was no matter what others will say or how they will act, "Do it anyway." Her speech will be published in full in the Port Washington News. When she finished speaking she took a photo of the class from her place on the stage supplied by the Town of North Hempstead and populated with the board of education members, Superintendent Gordon, Principal Lewis, and Assistant Principal Brad Fitzgerald. Jeff Byrne led the high school band in the processional and recessional. Fredi Bernstein sang the national anthem. Principal Lewis also honored board member Nancy Cowles who has served for nine out of the last 10 years and will leave June 30.
(Ed.'s note: The class photo and the graduates' plans will be in next week's issue.)