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Congratulations, Herricks High School Graduates

Congratulations, Herricks High School Graduates


Herricks High School’s Class of 2017 moved onward and upward during the 58th annual commencement ceremony, as they celebrated years of accomplishments and a fresh start filled with boundless opportunities. As the sun set on the evening of June 22, the moment graduates had been working toward became a reality.

The seniors, along with members of the administration, board of education and high school faculty, entered the school’s field to the cheers of guests that filled the bleachers. The band performed “Pomp and Circumstance” and students led their fellow graduates and guests in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by a vocal presentation of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Principal Dr. James Ruck provided opening remarks, then turned the spotlight over to the students. As a continuation of a time-honored tradition in Herricks, seniors welcomed their guests by sharing greetings in a variety of languages spoken all over the world, representative of the diversity and unity make the district and community so extraordinary.

“All of us witnessing your graduation today wish you success in the future, and a guarantee for continued love,” Dr. Ruck told the seniors. “My request to you is that you continue to take on your short- and long-term challenges with the same level of decency that you exhibited in Herricks, in whatever endeavor you are involved.”

He shared ten thoughts to help them as they pursue their new ventures.

Board of education member Jim Gounaris addressed the group of graduates, which included his son, Nicholas. He asked them to “Never forget your Herricks family and always be proud of where you came from, because with a family as large as this supporting you, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fino Celano acknowledged the seniors’ many achievements and shared inspiring advice and encouragement.

“You are an amazing class and have excelled in so many areas,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone -- stay confident, be brave and reach high.”

Herricks High School PTSA Co-Presidents Debbie Imperatore and Rosemarie Polo presented farewell remarks to the graduates. Salutatorian Alan Chen addressed his classmates, as did Student Government representative Joseph Carmody.

“We have a chance to really take advantage of what has been offered to us, and grow from it,” said Chen. “And if we do that, we will be remembered as people who are not afraid to grow, to challenge ourselves to be better than who we already are.”

Valedictorian Setu Mehta focused on learning from change.

“At Herricks, we have been taught to accept and invite change as the only constant variable in our lives,” she said. “I stopped asking why things had gone wrong, and started to answer the question of how to make things right. It’s because of this that my journey in high school soon became defined by the questions I asked and the lessons I was able to learn from them.” 

Each year, a faculty member is selected to provide comments to the graduates. Seniors Samantha Aloysius and Brandon Gosine introduced science teacher Cheryl Donovan as the 2017 speaker.

The Graduation Choir Singers performed two musical numbers, which were followed by Dr. Ruck’s presentation of the Class of 2017. As a new member of the school administration this year, he thanked all those who welcomed him and contributed to a positive experience.

As the highlight of the ceremony, diplomas were presented by board of education members and each graduate received applause and cheers from guests. Two special diplomas were the first to be distributed – one went to the family of Gianfranco Peralta, and the other to retiring 27-year-long board of education member Christine Turner.

Before the evening concluded, members of the Class of 2017 took part in the symbolic “turning of the tassels,” representative of their new designation as graduates. They fervently tossed their caps upward, signifying their enthusiasm for the next phases of their journeys.


Photos courtesy of Herricks Public Schools