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The 409-members of the Class of 2019 celebrated the completion of their academic journey at High School East during the school’s 104th annual commencement exercises on the football field on June 26.
Accompanied by the Board of Education, administration and faculty, the graduates processed across the field to the cheers of family and community to Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.” Senior class president Kelly McSweeney led the flag salute while the senior class concert choir, under the baton of Mark Hegreness, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In his welcome address, High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons told the students, “Our future is bright with you at the helm of the community.” He also encouraged them to keep making informed decisions and choices, stay committed to their beliefs, plan wisely, create their own destinies and enjoy their time with family.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jennifer Bradshaw spoke about a Wharton School of Business study on whether givers or takers are more successful in life. She noted that givers “have long-term advantages” and said givers are “not pushovers” and “do not keep score.”
During his class address, Honor Speaker Thomas Fanning gave his peers words to live by to strengthen their character, such as integrity, perseverance, humility and resilience. “If all else fails, just be optimistic,” he said. “You never know where your principles and audacity will take you.”
During the senior class presentation, Kelly reminisced about the last four years of high school. “We need to remember why we are who we are,” she remarked.
Dr. Simmons then presented the senior class to the community while the Board of Education, assisted by school counselors, called each of the graduates to the podium to receive his or her diploma, marking becoming Smithtown alumni. The ceremony culminated with the senior class choir singing “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” which was a tribute to parents and graduates, before marching off of the field to join their families and friends.
The Board of Education, administration and faculty extend best wishes of happiness and success to the Class of 2019.
For maintaining a 4.0 GPA for four consecutive years of high school, High School East and High School West recognized 186 seniors as Gold Cord recipients during their respective annual Gold Cord Awards ceremonies on May 23. At the High School East ceremony, 95 students were honored, while High School West recognized 91 of its students. Each student was called to the stage for recognition, a look back at their most memorable high school moments and to highlight future college and career goals. High School East Principal Dr. Kevin Simmons and High School West Principal John Coady presented each student with their gold cord and certificate while guidance counselors announced the recipients’ names.