Smithtown Central School District’s two high schools held their respective 103rd commencement exercises on the football field on June 21 joined by members of the board of education, administration, family, friends, faculty and invited guests, officially completing the seniors’ educational journey.

High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons commended the 406 members of the Class of 2018 for the positive mark they have left on the school. He reminded them to stay true to themselves and take advantage of the opportunities they will be presented with in the future. “The future is in your capable hands, and we know our future is bright,” Dr. Simmons told the graduates.

At High School East, Superintendent Dr. James Grossane, in his address to graduates, referenced the Robert Fulghum poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” “No matter how old you are, when you go into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together,” he said.

At High School West, leading up to the final moment in the graduation exercise, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw, student-elected honor speaker Kevin Camson and senior class president Jenna Curcio delivered speeches filled with hopes, dreams and sage advice that assured the graduates they were prepared to begin the next stage of their lives. 

Sharing wisdom she learned reading Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take,” Ms. Bradshaw told the graduates that Grant’s research finds that those who give come out ahead in both business and in life. “Givers build larger, broader, more supportive networks of friends and colleagues. And they gain greater knowledge and experience through the broad network of people they are helping,” she noted. 

Ms. Bradshaw concluded her speech with a wish and a hope for the Class of 2018. “I wish you all the very best success, in whatever ways you measure it, and I hope that being a ‘giver’ plays a fulfilling role in that journey.”

Using humor, Kevin shared his personal story of overcoming obstacles. “There may be hurdles in your path, you may stumble. If you’re anything like me, you will stumble, but keep going. There may be hurdles you can’t clear at all. Go around them. If you do, success will come down to two things: guidance and hard work,” he advised. 

Jenna used her time behind the podium to honor those who helped the seniors get to where they are today. “Our thank you to those who have helped us is only beginning… Show them how thankful you are by making use of the precious gift of time which we all possess. Show our mentors that their time devoted to us was not in vain. They have all made a difference in our lives so that we can make a difference in the future.”

Joining the Smithtown High School West Class of 2018 in receiving a diploma was 87-year-old special guest, Mordechai Miller. Miller, a native of Poland and Holocaust survivor, was presented an honorary diploma from Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady. 

High School East’s honor speaker Matthew Timmel recounted their journey from freshmen to senior year and the memories created along the way. He said that graduation was the recognition of an adventure that started 13 years ago, and no matter where they end up in life, Smithtown will remain their roots.

High School East’s Senior Class President Nicole Cahill told her fellow graduates to strive for excellence in every task, no matter how large or small. She said that if everyone in the Class of 2018 lives up to their full potential, “just imagine the effect on the world we can have.”

Following the conferring of diplomas, both the High School West and East Class of 2018 tossed their caps and celebrated their accomplishments with family and friends.