Written by Jackie Pierangelo Friday, 03 July 2009 00:00Though the class of 2009’s commencement took place during the soggiest June in recent memory, the rains held off as soon as the graduates walked onto the field, as the bittersweet melody of Pomp and Circumstance was played by the Schreiber High School Band directed by John Meyer.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Geoff Gordon advised us that 396 students graduated in June and the four remaining students from the class of 2009 will most likely be graduating in August. This 100 percent graduation rate is made more significant in light of what BOE President Larry Greenstein told the audience at commencement. He advised that only around 50 percent of students statewide meet the new standards. “That says a lot about you,” he told the graduates.
Assistant Principal for the Class of 2009, Craig Weiss, began the commencement ceremony by welcoming the graduates and their guests. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of the high school years, and its joys and rewards. It was evident that he is very emotionally connected to the students he has shepherded through the past four years. Later on in the ceremony as he presented the Class of 2009, Mr. Weiss deemed the class “responsible and spirited.”
The next person who should have spoken was Schreiber High School Principal Jay Lewis. However, Mr. Lewis had back surgery on Tuesday and was therefore unable to attend the graduation.
In Mr. Greenstein’s address he first thanked all of those who have contributed to the students’ success over the years including the teachers, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals, the custodians, administrators, their families and “the community that spend their hard earned dollars to support education.”
He then spoke of these “unique” times in which the kids are graduating: “Iran is in turmoil, North Korea is looking to obtain nuclear weapons and the United States is being tried in many ways.” He quickly added that it is also a time of “great hope and possibility. The election of Barack Obama, politics aside, sent a great message to the country and the world, that you can achieve your dreams. That hope and change are possible.”
The BOE President then astutely pointed out, “We’re on the cusp of something new. I don’t know what it will look like, but it is in your hands, and that gives me great confidence that we are heading in the right direction, …I don’t think I need to tell you that freedom comes with responsibility. You have already shown your responsibility.”
Daniel Ehrlich was chosen to give the commencement address, which will appear in next week’s issue.
Larry Greenstein, Jean-Marie Posner and Sue Sturman comprised the Bogart Scholarship committee this year. They announced that this prestigious award went to Stephen Nash. (We will be writing a separate story on this shortly.)
Dr. Gordon then gave his salutation to the Class of 2009. He told the graduates that he had great expectations for them based on their performance in school thus far. He reminded the audience that this class had a record number of National Merit scholars, 150 advanced placement students, nine county/conference championships, an award for sportsmanship two years in a row and were written up in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
He added that in addition to all this, they were “great people,” who also performed much community service.
Also referencing the historic election of President Obama, Dr. Gordon urged the graduates to follow their dreams and employ their imaginations. And, much to the delight of the females in the audience, he pointed out that this class may “see the first woman president.”