Tappan Zee High School celebrated the graduation of its senior class at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony–the school’s 115th!–on June 21 at the Joseph J. Hickey Memorial Field. The Tappan Zee High School Band, under the direction of Music Department Team Leader (9-12) William Hughes, kicked off the evening with selections from “Up” and “Air Force One,” before launching into the “Pomp and Circumstance” processional. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by senior choir members, conducted by Choral Director Russell Wagoner.
“We’re all so proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far,” said Principal Jennifer Amos, in her welcoming remarks. “Be the best versions of yourselves and achieve great things.”
Student addresses reflected on fond memories and offered guidance:
- Class President Kayla McKiernan spoke about her tattered sneakers that had carried her through so many formative experiences at TZHS: “Whatever path you choose to take, walk in your shoes with confidence…and do not let them stay clean.”
- Constellations and the connectedness of their constituent stars were the starting point for Salutatorian Nicole Malpeli: “We are able to identify as a class that shoots for the moon…The sky is not the limit for our class, but rather a starting line for us to discover what change we can create in the future.”
- With industrial production as a metaphor for public education, Valedictorian Jake Laddis focused on how South Orangetown Central School District students receive more than a standard-issue educational experience: “We were learning what we were supposed to learn, but we did so much more along the way…Our high school routine went so beyond what was mandated by the State, or by the Common Core, and it did so because we did it together…We all share the same thing, this collection of experiences that goes beyond the assembly line that is public education. We’re done. We’ve been produced. I’m just so lucky that I was produced here, alongside all of you.”
After accepting Dr. Amos’ certification of the Class of 2018, Superintendent of Schools Robert Pritchard urged the graduates to focus on qualities they hope to cultivate in themselves. “Commit to know what you want to be, before you commit to what you want to know or what you want to do…,” Dr. Pritchard advised. “When you go off to college, you will gain a better understanding of what you may want to do as a career and the related skills and knowledge that you will need to accomplish those goals – you will likely have many people who will advise you and guide you along the way. However, it can be very challenging to create, sustain, or regain courage, hope, and faith – especially when facing adversity. My best advice to you now is that you build all of these facets of your being by filling your hearts with as much love as your hearts can possibly hold. The more full your heart is with love, the less room there is for fear, anger, jealousy, despair, or hatred. Love allows you to let go of those things that may prevent you from being courageous, hopeful, and faithful.”