In every young man or woman’s life, the time eventually comes to put aside the old ways and venture out into a brave, new world.
The seniors of Massapeuqa High School exemplified this adage Monday when the Class of 2012 held their commencement ceremonies at Hostra University, ushering in the next chapter of life for the 613 bright-eyed graduates.
They heard from one of their own. Valedictorianwho is bound for Yale told her classmates, not to be afraid to admit they don't know everything.
"Not knowing everything keeps life interesting; it means that every day can be a new adventure, something to amaze, surprise, and excite us" she said. "It means that we are constantly learning, even if we don’t mean to—even if we don’t want to. And it means that there’s endless room for us to grow and experience the world around us."
She also admitted she still didn't know what being valedictorian meant to her telling her classmates, "To say I do would be to undermine your potential--simply because that potential is beyond my comprehension."
"Our graduating class is big enough to hold every kind of person. We have peers who are all national musicians, all American athletes, and even youtube famous entertainers. We have peers who love fantasy football enough to recreate it in a math class. And we have peers who build trebuchets—because, well, why not? How amazing is that?"
Once the ceremonies were complete, the new graduates ventured forth from the David Mack Exhibition Complex, diplomas in hand, ready to take on life’s new challenges with the support of their families and loved ones.
Spencer Nord is heading to Cornell University to major in Industrial Labor Relations.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “13 years has gone by pretty quickly...my brother told me high school would go by fast, but I didn’t know it would go by THIS fast!”
Brian Poole, who is headed to SUNY Oswego to study Liberal Arts, summed up graduation with just one word.
“Bittersweet, I guess,” he said. “I’m going to miss it...it was a great four years.”
Hofstra-bound Bridget Jordan plans on majoring in Secondary Education for English in the fall.
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now,” she said. “Graduation is unbelievable...it’s really breathtaking.”
Samantha Randolph plans on attending MUD, which is a makeup design school in Manhattan.
“It feels good...it went by really quick,” she said. “All of this at once, it’s kind of overwhelming.”
Dana Ahrens, who is heading to Adelphi University to study Nursing, echoed the same sentiment as many of her classmates in regards to how quickly her high school years have past by.
“It feels awesome,” she said. “It’s kind of unreal how much everything has gone by so fast...time just flies, really.”
Zach Neal plans on majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the New York Institute of Technology come this fall.
“It feels nice, to finally get out of Massapequa,” he said. “I’m not sad, not even a little. I can’t wait to get out there and start college.”
While Dominic Esposito (recipient of Honor Awards for both Business Education and Athletics) is excited about attending Babson College in the fall to study Business, he’s still dealing with the emotions of leaving his high school life behind in the here and now.
“You sit there for a second and think, is this real?” he said. “But at the same time, there’s that breath of relief, and you know you have another four years ahead of you and you’re very excited. It’s a remarkable feeling.”
Animal lover Stephanie Graziano intends on studying Veterinary Science at Suffolk Community College later this year.
“Graduating feels good,” she said. “The high school career has ended, but a new life is starting, so I feel like it’s a good path to start on.”
Nichole Fiene is heading to Lehigh University to study Neuroscience after the summer break.
“Finishing high school is relieving,” she said. “I’m so excited for the future...really excited.”
Computer Science major Connor Panarella will be attending Binghamton University in the fall, and is struggling to come to grips with the fact that his life will be very different come the fall.
“I’m excited, but it doesn’t seem real yet,” he said. “It hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be miles away from here in just a few months.”