NEW BEGINNINGS FOR THE CLASS OF 2011

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The air was filled with a vast array of emotions as the 258 graduates in the Shoreham-Wading River High School Class of 2011 processed onto the field to take the first step in the next chapter of their lives. Under the direction of David Minelli, the High School’s Concert Band played “Pomp and Circumstance” to announce the start of the district’s 35th Commencement Exercises. Student Government co-presidents Meagan Hearney and Demi Lopez led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, while graduate Melissa McDonald sang the national anthem.
    
Board of Education President Jack Costas welcomed friends and family to this special occasion and reminded the graduates that success is not measured in dollars and cents. “[Power and success] are the influences you retain over yourselves,” he stated.
    
Superintendent of schools Dr. Harriet Copel held a blue crystal ball during her address to the graduates. She explained that we cannot predict what is next in this rapidly changing world. “The crystal ball reminds us of the constants in our lives,” she stated.
    
Guest speaker Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko explained that public education reflects the community’s investment in its students, and as a result, much is expected from those who graduate from the nation’s high schools. “You need to pay forward that goodwill and investment to others in the world,” Mr. Lesko commented.
    
Salutatorian Michelle Gostic’s opening remarks to her fellow graduates encouraged them to set their dreams high and to take life one day at a time in order to be able to manage life’s most daunting tasks. “Simply focus on your next move, on life’s next tiny foothold,” Michelle advised.
   
In her words of farewell, Valedictorian Rachel Szymanski acknowledged the idea that everything, whether good or bad, is temporary. She stated the mantra that “this too shall pass.” Rachel recognized her friend Kaitlyn Suarez as the embodiment of this sentiment and an inspiration to all who meet her. Rachel said to Kaitlyn, “You have taught us that no matter what the present holds, the next minute…hour…day is ours for the taking in whatever direction we wish, and that we must make the most of life’s opportunities.”     
    
Following the speeches and a stellar performance by French horn player Melaina Badalian, the graduates received their diplomas, officially becoming alumni of the Shoreham-Wading River School District. The District extends its congratulations and wishes of success and happiness to each member of the Class of 2011.