Smithtown Central School District celebrated the accomplishments of High School East’s Class of 2017 during its 102st annual commencement exercise on June 22.

The 427 graduates marched proudly onto the football field to “Pomp and Circumstance” and were welcomed by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw, who spoke to the Class of 2017 about smart goals and dream-driven goals. “You don’t have to pick one or the other for your goals,” she said. “Today, your graduation day, is a noteworthy accomplishment. But it is only one day that represents the culmination of 13 years of studying. You should be proud of the work that got you here. But as you embark on the next stage of life, consider not just your next goal, consider your next journey and how you want to spend that journey.”

East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons urged the graduates to dream big. “This is an unbelievably exciting time in your life,” he said. “All doors are open as you decide what your next chapter in life will be. Keep making informed choices and educated decisions. Continue to test yourself and stay committed to your beliefs because you know what’s best for you. We are so proud of your current accomplishments and we look forward to hearing all of your future successes as well.”

Student honor speaker Kyle DiPietrantonio, who is selected by the class instead of a valedictorian or salutatorian, took a moment to reflect on how far the class has come in the past four years at Smithtown High School East. “These past four years, we have been working to create our own identity,” he said. “You have the power to make a difference. You have the ability to impact and influence. Leave your legacy.”

Senior class president Juneve Porciello addressed her fellow classmates and spoke about how graduation wasn’t the end but a new beginning. “Today, we are not saying goodbye, we are saying hello to our future,” she said. “The days in front of us are what hold the greatest adventure. It’s time to take the next step in our journey.”

The 400-plus members of the Class of 2017 were then called to the stage one by one to receive their diplomas and pose for a picture before tossing their caps high into the air to celebrate the end of their time at High School East.