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Herricks High School Graduation


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.”

In his opening comments, Dr. Ruck provided his thoughts on the characteristics that can make one an effective leader. He advised the seniors to “be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; and have humor, but without folly.”

“I know there is a story behind each and every one of you, and all of those stories are important,” he said. “To you my friends, a group of young men and women all very special, I wish you good health, good luck, good wishes and good skill as you head along this journey called life.”

The spotlight was then turned 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 that make the district and community so extraordinary.

Board of Education Vice President Juleigh Chin and Trustee Nancy Feinstein, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fino Celano and Herricks High School PTSA Co-Presidents Debbie Imperatore and Rosemarie Polo presented remarks, and teacher and senior class co-adviser Liam O’Brien was selected as the 2018 faculty speaker.

“As you move forward, continue to explore the world, searching for who you are and what your life’s passion may be,” Dr. Celano said. “Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone; stay confident, be brave and dream big.” He reflected on the accomplishments of the class and also took them on a journey through the past as he recounted some of the major events that took place during the year they began kindergarten.

Salutatorian Janet Hsu addressed her classmates, as did All-School Student Government President Sibin Samuel.

“When faced with a lot of choices, it is our ideas that may influence our decisions, but also, it is our ideas that spark our ingenuity,” Janet said. “Our ideas are what make us all different from the other almost 8 billion people on Earth. They make us individuals, and we, as diverse individuals, form one-of-a-kind forces and groups of change. So, don’t be afraid to create and share those unique ideas.” She shared the Steve Jobs quote, “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” and encouraged her peers to “be the voice for your imagination no matter what other people say.”

“I have learned that in everything we do, we must have a balance and know when to stop and when to keep going,” Sibin said. “We must manage our time and work to the best of our ability in all things we do. We must strive to be the best version of ourselves. Today, I challenge all of you to take what you have learned from Herricks and be the best versions of yourselves.”

Valedictorian Esme Chen shared her father’s story of achieving success despite obstacles and with persistence and determination. She quoted Winston Churchill in defining success as “going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

“Our next four years will be the opportune time to grow and improve ourselves using our newfound space and freedom,” Esme said. “This is the time for us to take opportunities and make them fit us, just like we did here at Herricks, but on a larger scale. This is the time to be uncertain and fail, again and again, before we even catch a glimpse of success.”

The Graduation Choir Singers performed two musical numbers, which were followed by Dr. Ruck’s presentation of the Class of 2018. As the highlight of the ceremony, diplomas were presented by Board of Education members and each graduate received applause and cheers from guests.

Before the evening concluded, members of the Class of 2018 took part in the symbolic “turning of the tassels.” They then threw their caps up into the future.


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