Some 310 Kennedy High School seniors marched to “Pomp and Circumstance” at the school’s 47th annual commencement at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury last Sunday. In attendance were Kennedy Principal Lorraine Poppe, Central District Superintendent John DeTommaso and Board of Education trustees.
Audience members heard speeches by class of 2014 salutatorian Benjamin November, valedictorian Benjamin Rabinowitz and senior class President Valentina Elegante. The program also featured a musical interlude by the Kennedy Jazz Combo and a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” by graduating senior Briana Krackow.
“Right now is a time of celebrating, but the future is worth celebrating too,” said November. “We have all been given an opportunity to make the world a better place.”
Rabinowitz quoted famed poet Robert Frost and advised his classmates to keep working hard. “There’s much to do,” he said. “Take the next step and explore everything that interests you. Do not forget to pursue your dreams.”
“Sometimes the most important history is the history we make right now,” said Elegante. “We must remember everything we have learned at Kennedy.”
Poppe urged the class of 2014 to savor moments in real time, despite the digital world in which they live. “Never apologize for carving your own path,” she said. “Put your iPhones down for a while and look in people’s faces. There is a need for each of you to share your talents with others. Use your passion. Explore, dream and discover.”
Board of Education Trustee Dr. Nancy Kaplan addressed the students, an honor that held special meaning for her. Kaplan’s son, Michael, is a member of the class of 2014 who will attend Lafayette College in the fall. “I have no doubt that there is greatness in you,” she said. “You are in control of your own destiny. Your story will be a great one. Don’t be afraid to write it.”