A warm summer sun and a cooling breeze served as the backdrop for a lovely afternoon at H. Frank Carey High School on Sunday as the 232 members of the senior class were celebrated during the Class of 2002's graduation ceremonies.
Over 700 parents, teachers and friends filled Carey's center courtyard to watch with pride as members of the Class of 2002 graduated during the school's 45th annual commencement.
The afternoon began with the procession of dignitaries to the rostrum, followed by the salute to the flag, led by Alaina Intagliata and Heather Resetar, vice presidents of the class. After the national anthem, Lisa Terrasi, class president, gave the welcoming address, in which she spoke about the different chapters in one's life, that life is a series of beginnings and endings and that when "one door closes, another opens."
A host of awards were given out next. Carey Assistant Principal Mr. Norman Barrie gave out the James A. DeSonne Award, named after the school's first principal. This year's award went to a trio of very talented and motivated young women: Kara Dolan, Christin Hordern and Lisa Terrasi. The John E. London Award, given by school AP Mrs. Lorraine Wright, was bestowed upon two talented individuals and best friends, Maria Miglino and Katie Milack.
A sweet tribute to the Class of 2002 was offered next by the class advisor and science teacher Ms. Stephanie Sellers, who spoke about the class' worth and maturity. She exhorted the class to take in all that life has to offer and to make the best of life.
More awards followed, with valedictorian Jon Nardi and Andrea Youngfert earning the coveted Carey Hall of Fame Awards and thespians Mike Caputo and Kelvin Loh winning the Principal's Award.
After class salutatorian Lauren Moran was recognized, Nardi made a humorous yet serious speech, reminiscing about the many small reminders of day-to-day Carey life, including the "not-so-hot hot pretzels" sold daily outside Mr. Snyder's business classroom. Jon noted that the most important thing absorbed in six years of high school was not learning "what a parabola was," but finding out "who you are." He summed up with a wonderful quote that he memorized from a poster hanging on a wall in one of his classes, a fine statement by Theodore Roosevelt, which can be summed up as thus: In life, take some chances and don't be afraid to fail.
A special treat was served up next for the attendees as Carey seniors Jacqueline Kaminsky, Holly Kadletz, Gary Ferrar, Kelvin Loh, Neena Prince and Andrea Youngfert, accompanied by Greg Tarascio on percussion and Mike Troha on bass, sang a beautiful version of There You'll Be.
After Carey Principal Doug Monaghan presented the class, Dr. George Goldstein, superintendent of the Sewanhaka Central High School District, offered his six Profiles in Excellence honors to some of Carey's outstanding seniors - Jon Brett, Stavros Drivas, Dave Kim, Bobby Main, Joanna Sesack and Mike Troha. Next, Dr. Goldstein presented a powerful exhortation to the class, encouraging them to fulfill their potential and using the metaphor of an eagle to show the true greatness in each of them, and in the nation as a whole. As proof, he noted that the Class of 2002 set Carey records for percent graduating, graduates of Regents diplomas and millions of dollars earned in scholarships.
Dr. Goldstein also encouraged the seniors to always honor those who have always been there for them - their parents and grandparents. Dr. Goldstein further stressed that the results achieved in a person's life, whether positive or negative, were his or her own responsibility, no one else's, and noted a number of wise "life lessons" culled from Bill Gates and Mother Theresa.
After the presentation of diplomas, with each student coming to the rostrum one-by-one to receive their diplomas and a hug or a handshake, the graduation ensemble sang It's Time to Go. The Concert Band then played the recessional.
The seniors wistfully left the back of the courtyard, leaving behind six years of toil and triumph, defeat and perseverance and, ultimately, glory. The future is theirs.