The school year has come to a close, which means it’s time for Massapequa students to move on to the next step in their academic careers. For the seniors of Massapequa High School, that means moving beyond the school district to colleges across the country and world.
Massapequa held its commencement ceremony last week in the Mack Sports Complex at Hofstra University. The festivities began with the processional walk into the arena by students and faculty, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by senior members of the Chordettes and Crooners.
Principal Brian Conboy was the first to speak to the class, thanking them for welcoming him in his first year at the high school and saying he was proud to be a part of “Titletown USA.”
“This has been a memorable senior class,” Conboy said. “Champion students, artists, musicians, athletes and future attorneys. Here’s one thing I know for sure. Sometime about 17 to 18 years ago, wherever you were sleeping as an infant, your parents were wishing for three things: great health, great happiness and a great education. Today, you are fulfilling a big part of that wish. You are grabbing a golden ticket from a national Blue Ribbon high school.”
Conboy also stated that, in times where things look bleak, we can look upon the generation entering the adult world to impact us in a positive way. He also gave two pieces of advice to the graduates: be proud of what you accomplished and always have something to do, love and look forward to in life.
“If you keep those three things, they will always award you,” said Conboy.
General organization president and graduate Daniel Kasin spoke next, who thanked the school for many great years and talked about how surreal it was to be moving on from the district. He also had important advice for his peers to keep on aiming for the stars in everything that they try to achieve.
“Whatever you do in life, be sure you do your best, even when no one is watching,” said Kasin. “It can provide opportunities for you in the competition of life.”
Senior class president Jeffrey Bordengo joked about writing a speech at the last minute, but was able to recount the times he first arrived at the high school, the many accomplishments of his classmates and reminded the graduates that they will be starting fresh soon.
“Sometimes we’re going to make mistakes, but those mistakes end up being our best learning experiences,” said Bordengo. “Before you know it, we’ll all be freshmen again. Truthfully, I think that’s fine because we’ve all gone through it before.”
Next, Conboy asked any graudates who will be entering any level of military or joining any ROTC programs at school to stand. They were honored with a standing ovation from the Massapequa crowd, with Conboy reiterating how proud they are of those students for making that choice.
This was followed by a presentation of awards for students who excelled in specific disciplines. These graduates received medallions of honor from various departments in the district. These students included Amanda Doulos (English), Alissa Popeck (Social Studies), Kaitlyn Eck (Mathematics), Ariana Fang (Science), Patricia Taylor (World Languages), Lauren McCaffrey (Family and Consumer Science), Molly Guarton (Music), Kelly Zeng (Art), Christian Williams (Health Education), Anthony DeVito (Physical Education—Boys) and Alexis Florio (Physical Education—Girls).
Prior to the awarding of diplomas, the class valedictorian and salutatorian were able to give their speeches to their classmates. Salutatorian Ariana Fang, who is attending Brown University in the fall, said that small moments tend to leave an impact on our lives and even our history and to be wary of that impact as you move forward in life.
“As humans, we hold a power to form meaningful and deep connections without ever having the intention to do so,” said Fang. “Each behavior has an origin where our experience influences how we interact and react. We have so much influence on one another that it warrants responsibility from each and every one of us.”
Valedictorian Nino Baghashvili, who will be heading to Harvard University, said that her limited English skills made it difficult to interact with her peers as a kid. However, she has since grown to have long-lasting friendships and has enjoyed her time at the school district, as she sees it as one big community.
“If you have no idea what you want to do the rest of your life, it’s OK,” said Baghashvili. “You will find it eventually. Just be sure not to settle for anything. I encourage you to look back at your experience in high school and take it as a jumping point to the rest of your life.”
After diplomas were handed out, graduates moved their tassels from right to left and caps were thrown into the air as students finished their high school journey.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and best of luck on all your future endeavors!